Hong Kong copyright bill

Copyright deal could end tai-tai video fight

Journalist who filmed a Hong Kong version of The Real Housewives hopes to end court case by selling its copyright to angry husband

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 December, 2015, 11:30am

The journalist who landed in a legal fight after posting on YouTube a video depicting a rich but lonely wife says she is now hoping to settle the row by selling her copyright to the furious husband.

Lorea Solabarrieta, who has worked for TVB and CCTV, has spent the last six months fighting lawsuits brought by businessman David Chor Ki-kwong, who was featured with his wife, Gloria, in the 12-minute documentary, The Life of a Hong Kong Tai Tai.

Chor obtained an interim injunction in October which ordered Solabarrieta to withdraw the video from YouTube, which she says she did.

But earlier this month Chor, who says the video is an embarrassment, filed a writ saying that she had not met the deadline. He is asking that she be found in contempt of court and jailed. No date has been set for the hearing.

"This case is a waste of taxpayers' money," Solabarrieta told the Sunday Morning Post.

Chor, in his sixties, demanded Solabarrieta, a daughter of a high-school classmate, remove the video after he felt embarrassed by scenes in which his wife showed off her collection of Hermes and Gucci handbags and broke into tears when saying he did not have enough time for her.

The video was viewed more than 89,000 times before it was pulled offline.

It all began with a project Solabarrieta completed for her master's degree in journalism in 2010. Aiming high, she wanted to produce a reality show like American TV series The Real Housewives. "I was just sure I was going to get something. So I told Gloria not to make up anything, be honest and just to live her life," she said.

Gloria was candid. In tears, she said to the camera: "[My husband] doesn't have much time for me.

"He promised me that when our son left for school, he would spend more time with me. But I don't feel he has done this.

"If I could change my lifestyle, I would tell myself to be more independent," she added.

Solabarrieta said she was happy with the result. "I don't really care what people's reactions are but I am happy that this piece evoked emotions," she said. "People can love it, people can hate it."

She said one of the Chors' relatives wrote to her calling the video an "inspiring piece of work".

Solabarrieta revealed that before the first court hearing, Chor approached her in January offering to buy the video. She said she asked a "standard price", which Chor called "ridiculous".

"What he is doing is bullying me. He is not talking to me like a normal person. He sent me legal letters. He is [trying] to shut me up," she said.

"You don't say things to camera if they are really confidential," she said. "If people speak to the camera, there is an understanding that it is not private."

Solabarrieta has now asked her lawyers to send a letter to Chor once more naming a price for the video.

"I don't really want to sell my work but I want to end this," she said.

While she would not disclose the amount she has asked for, she said it would cover her legal expenses, which equalled entire salary for the year she worked at CCTV in Beijing in 2010.

"For me, I really want to fight because if I lose it's not just about myself, it will set a precedent and the law of freedom of speech will be rewritten," she said. "But it's an expensive game. Telling the truth doesn't necessarily set you free," she said.