As calls grow among the young generation to reform the monarchy, some Thai celebrities are risking boycotts and hatred to defend their beloved royal institution.
Their emotional reactions to the push for change are costing them fans — and even jobs. Here are a few of the royalist celebs pushing back against pressure for royal reform.
Singer Haruthai “Au” Muangbunsri
Haruthai leapt to defend the monarchy against what she calls a disinformation campaign aimed at undermining the institution. Like other royalists, she is convinced the monarchy is a core force for national unity.
The 46-year-old is often seen on the frontline, mobilisingfellow royalists to counter youth-led protesters’ calls for monarchy reform, a more democratic charter and the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
“Royalists are coming forward not to confront [the protesters], but to prevent lese majeste,” she said.
In January, Haruthai asked those who are challenging the Thai monarchy if they would dare to do the same against any other foreign head of state.
“Let’s see if you are sent to jail. Do you dare? Hahaha,” she said in a Facebook post.
Her royalist convictions are rooted in her student years when she joined the 1992 uprising against the regime of General Suchinda Kraprayoon. She was among the protesters detained during the deadly “Black May” crackdown before King Rama IX intervened and Suchinda resigned.
In 2013, Haruthai spoke on stage during street protests against the Yingluck Shinawatra government – a movement that culminated in a military coup in May 2014.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)