A book on Vietnam’s Civil Code and its guiding documents, whose cover is supposed to feature serious depictions, nevertheless has a semi-nude smiling comedian standing on a ball of fire on the front, drawing much criticism.
1,000 copies of a book titled “Bo Luat Dan Su va Van Ban Huong Dan Thi Hanh 2014” (The Civil Code and Related Circulars 2014) were published by the Labor and Social Affairs Publishing House under the Ministry of Labor, Invalid, and Social Affairs earlier this year.
Its front cover features a shirtless brawny male body but the face is that of Cong Ly, a popular comedian in Hanoi.
The name “Cong Ly” in Vietnamese means “justice”.
This person is pictured standing on a fire ball, with his two hands holding two scales, a worldwide symbol of justice.
Ly’s face, which wears a broad smile, is clumsily attached to the man’s body using Photoshop.
“I’m really shocked. How could the publisher use my photo without my consent or even prior notice? Worse, my face is depicted quite ridiculously,” artist Cong Ly, expressed his resentment.
Judge Pham Cong Hung, of the Supreme Court, also expressed his astonishment and frustration with Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper regarding the incident.
“I’m really at a loss why the publisher and its editors could allow this to happen. The act is indicative of an outrageous irony and blasphemy on the country’s civil legal system,” he said.
The judge also pointed to the producer’s irresponsibility in allowing such a cover for the book with such serious legal contents.
“Is the ridiculous image suggestive that the country’s entire legal system is no different than a comedian’s smile on a crude, patchy Photoshop work?” Hung pondered.
He added he really feels offended as his profession is looked down upon.
He stressed comedian Ly can certainly take legal action for the publisher’s unauthorized use of his photo.
A client at Phuong Nam Bookstore in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District, and several Tuoi Tre readers expressed their frustration at the improper act.
Nguyen Huy Chanh, head of the publisher’s office in HCMC, said he will look closely into the incident.
VietNamNet, a local newswire, quoted Chanh as saying that a large number of the book’s copies were recalled some months ago, shortly after his publisher detected the blunder.
The publisher has dispatched its staffers to recall the remaining copies, Chanh told VietNamNet.