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Vietnamese singer hit with heavy criticism for maligning Taylor Swift

Tung Duong (left) and Taylor Swift
Tung Duong (left) and Taylor Swift

A Vietnamese singer is getting a taste of his own medicine as fans criticize his harsh words toward several domestic and international stars.

Singer Tung Duong, 35, became a household name in 2004 after finishing first in the Sao Mai Diem Hen music contest.

While his unique voice and vocal skills left a positive impact on the contest’s judges, his shocking social media posts are leaving a negative impact on fans.

The latest ‘victim’

No star is too big for an insult from Tung Duong, including American country-to-pop singer Taylor Swift – arguably one of the most well-known names in music.

Though 2018 saw Swift win the Tour of the Year, Favorite Album – Pop/Rock, Favorite Female Artist – Pop/Rock, and the prestigious Artist of the Year awards at the American Music Award (AMA) ceremony – pushing her total wins to 23, the record for any female artist – Tung Duong was not shy about showing his disdain for the “Look What You Made Me Do” singer.

Following the October 10 event, a Vietnamese Facebook page dedicated to Whitney Houston posted a congratulatory message to Taylor Swift.

Tung Duong, a documented hardcore Houston fan, was quick to comment under the post, writing “Can’t bear even a song of Taylor Swift.”

When the original Facebook post which referred to Swift as an “entertainer” was edited to change her title to “singer,” Tung Duong jumped in to argue that “using ‘entertainer’ is correct already, what else do you want? Want to [call her] diva/legend, don’t you?”

Duong’s disparaging comments towards Taylor Swift on the Vietnamese Whitney Houston’s Facebook page are captured in this screenshot.
Duong’s disparaging comments towards Taylor Swift on the Vietnamese Whitney Houston’s Facebook page are captured in this screenshot.

Online argument

As it might be expected, Duong’s derogatory comments toward Taylor Swift sparked a controversy among the country’s online community.

Some believe that his comments are unbecoming of a “popular artist.”

Facebook user Chau Phuc replied to Duong’s comment to share that he lost respect for Duong, whom he had once regarded as “a talented singer.”

“Ever since your angry comments about Taylor Swift, I haven’t been able to like you, Tung Duong,” Phuc wrote in his reply.

“You are a public figure, a singer, but you’ve sneered at and degraded another singer, a female artist,” Phuc underscored in his criticism.

Another commenter contended that Swift had six albums and dozens of hits in less than ten years of her career, so claiming that “Can’t bear even a song of Taylor Swift” seems to despise the female singer as well as her awards and achievements, including her prestigious Grammy wins.

“Taylor still has millions of listeners to her music,” said Kiara Alison.

Some, however, showed their support for Duong.

“In the past I listened to some of her country songs, now [I] cannot stand any of her songs,” Truong Minh Hoa wrote.

A Facebook page for Taylor Swift haters in Vietnam also posted its agreement with Tung Duong, commenting that “If you dislike it then say you dislike it. Is it obligatory for everyone to like listening to Taylor’s music?”

It is unclear whether a quotation about the value of an artist by someone referred to as D.W. was posted on Duong’s personal Facebook account in the middle of the online dispute was intentional or not.

“For an artist, I think that things do not just stop at performing,” the post reads.

“When you get older, there are only two or three questions in life. How long? And what can I do with my remaining time?”

Under the post, many accounts continue to rush in to attack the 35-year-old singer with several rude words regarding his reprobation of Taylor Swift.

Tung Duong (right) performs with Vietnamese male ballad singer Bang Kieu at a show.
Tung Duong (right) performs with Vietnamese male ballad singer Bang Kieu at a show.

News website Zing.vn said it contacted Tung Duong and his manager one day after the controversy broke out on the Internet.

However, the manager said he did not know about the male singer’s online comments about Taylor Swift and would like to discuss the issue later.

The congratulatory post on the Vietnamese Whitney Houston Facebook fan page has been taken down.

‘Adele sang improperly’

Taylor Swift is not the only international ‘victim’ to be scorned by Duong. The Vietnamese singer once made a disparaging comment about Adele’s singing.

“I felt shocked because Adele sang improperly in her performance, unlike what I had heard before. A whole part of the song was offbeat,” Duong talked about the English singer and songwriter’s performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards in an interview for a music show that same year.

As his words sparked online controversy, Duong immediately defended that the comment had been taken out of context, noting that he did add that he “wondered if it is the fault of sound, music, or the singer’s mistake.”

“This shows that even world-class singers sometimes have unexpected problems when performing live. We should [for that reason] understand and sympathize with Vietnamese singers,” Duong opined.

Tung Duong (left) and Son Tung M-TP
Tung Duong (left) and Son Tung M-TP

Also in 2016, when Vietnamese pop star Son Tung M-TP outplayed other veteran singers to claim the “Artist of the Year” title at the Cong Hien (Dedication) Music Award – annually held by The thao & Van hoa (Sports & Culture) newspaper, Duong also made speeches referring to the 24-year-old male voice’s achievement.

In particular, Duong recommended that the audience review, evaluate and thoroughly consider before selecting the ‘artist of the year’ to avoid confusion about “the influence to create, develop [new artworks] with imitation.”

“Keep up good, kind, long-term, actual values in order not to contribute to the distortions and degradation of prizes and the retrogression of the country’s art industry. Wake up please!” he insisted.

Although Duong did not mention a specific identity, his words prompted many people to guess the person he was referring to was the young pop star Son Tung.

Like previous speeches, Duong continued to receive ‘tons of bricks’ for reproaching his colleagues.

The list of Duong’s shocking and disrespectful speeches seems to have endless limits.

Another ‘victim’ to his disparaging words is the Vietnamese musician and record producer Duong Khac Linh.

In the 2016 X-Factor TV show, Tung Duong was not afraid to assess the message that Duong Khac Linh sent in his song “Who cares” as a danger to young people and “such a declaration of youth is unacceptable.”

Duong even went as far as saying the revival of boléro, a Spanish music genre characterized by its slow tempo and distinctive 4/4 time signature, in Vietnam as “retrogression” and received a lot of criticism from the audience and also the artists pursuing this music genre in 2017.

Tung Duong (left) judges at the Vietnamese X-Factor TV show in this photo provided by the organizers
Tung Duong (left) judges at the Vietnamese X-Factor TV show in this photo provided by the organizers