Educator-turned-livestreamer, Oriental Selection, saw its stock price plummet nearly 13% on 13 December, after already dropping 7.13% two days before. At the same time, Oriental Selection’s competitor Gaotu was met with waves of newcomers joining in protest against Oriental Selection, bringing with them an explosive influx of viewers and sales. All of this was for one man, Dong Yuhui.
Dong Yuhui, a former English teacher, has long been the top livestreamer for Oriental Selection. His fans call themselves “Mothers-in-Law”. Recently, Dong has been doing mini-presentations called “essayettes” (“小作文“) about various provinces at Oriental Selection’s regional-themed livestreams.
The story began on 5 December when the Oriental Selection account revealed in the comment section that the latest Jilin-themed essayette was penned by a team of writers. This resulted in a barrage of abuse from the In-Laws as they believed Dong had written all the scripts for the essayettes himself. They cited Yu Minhong, president of New Oriental Group, the parent company of Oriental Selection, who once said that Dong wrote the essayette on Shanxi. They’re accusing the team of “backstabbing” and trying to take credit for Dong’s work.
The official account reasoned that the boss was too busy to know everything behind the scenes. Dong, on the other hand, tried to appease his fans by saying that the editor operating the account was talking nonsense.
Things escalated further when the official account posted that some of the essayettes were written by a single writer with little to no input from the livestreamer. They also condemned the fandom for using their love for the livestreamer as an excuse to attack the team.
This is when the Mothers-in-Law struck. As Dong took a step back from streaming, they started boycotting the Oriental Selection channels and participated in rival Gaotu’s livestream on the evening of 11 December.
Eager to put a lid on things, Oriental Selection’s CEO Sun Dongxu appeared during a livestream session and made a statement on the 13th. He announced that neither the editor nor Dong had responded appropriately in this situation. He promised fans that Dong has not been mistreated and is in fact very well looked after. At the same time, Sun condemned the “fandom culture” and said no mistreatment towards team members would be tolerated.
Dong Yuhui also released a long statement clarifying that there are several processes in creating the essayettes; some are written by him, some by the team and others through collaboration. However, none of this stopped Oriental Selection’s follower count from dropping nearly 100,000 in a matter of days, or the share price from plunging. Several topics made it to the Hot Search list on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform. However, as the announcement caused an even larger backlash with calls to sack Sun, Yu was forced to come and make a statement to calm the fanbase. It seems that the troubles are not yet over for Oriental Selection.