Denny Kwan, 24, was handed the ban as a punishment by the Culture and Fine Arts Ministry after they decided she had broken their code of conduct.
She has been banned from making new movies for a year after culture bosses in the country decided she was ‘too sexy’.
With 300,000 Facebook followers around the world, Miss Kwan said that the parts she played in movies were nothing like the erotic roles played by other actresses.
The ministry’s code of conduct aims to promote the “preservation, maintenance of arts, culture, tradition and the identity of the nation”.
Now, for the next 12 months, Miss Kwan must not step in front of any movie camera – a punishment that has caused outrage among freedom and women’s groups in the country.
The gender equality group Gender and Development Cambodia hit out at the ministry’s decision on both ethical and legal grounds, saying it was violating the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
She said the culture ministry officials “educated me like a daughter”.
Denny told the Daily Mail:
“I know it’s my right to dress how I want, but our culture, Cambodian people, cannot accept it. I will now try not to be sexy as I usually am when I post on Facebook.”
Denny said she didn’t want to discuss or criticise the ruling, but observers branded the decision “appalling” and “ridiculous”.
Thida Khus, head of women’s rights group Silaka, told the Post: “This situation only happens to women and it’s gender discrimination – it’s a violation of gender equality.”
And Ros Sopheap, executive director of gender equality group Gender and Development Cambodia, said: “She’s not the first one. People all over the world and in Cambodia … dress like this. Why only take action on her and block her career for a year?”
Chamroeun Vantha, an adviser for the ministry and chief of the disciplinary council, said: “The council members decided to punish Denny Kwan by not having any activities in the entertainment industry for one year, such as filming, karaoke and singing performances on TV.
“Secondly, we appeal to artist associations, TV [stations] and entertainment production owners to cooperate with the ministry to punish [her] by not giving her any work, like commercial spots and filming.”
Denny said: “Within this one year, I will quit being sexy.”