Police investigating Preetipls' video on controversial E-Pay ad for offensive content

Police investigating Preetipls' video on controversial E-Pay ad for offensive content

Preetipls and Subhas Nair video in response to epay
A screengrab from the rap video by YouTube performer Preetipls and her brother Subhas Nair.

SINGAPORE: The police said on Tuesday (Jul 30) they are investigating an online video posted by local Internet star Preetipls for "offensive content". 

The video was posted on Monday by the entertainer, whose real name is Preeti Nair. It was a response to an advertisement on an e-payment app that drew furore online.

"The police are aware of an online video that is directed against the E-Pay advertisement," the Singapore Police Force said in a statement on Tuesday. 

"A police report has been lodged against the online video for its offensive content and police investigations are ongoing. 

"The police will not tolerate any offensive content that causes ill-will between races."

READ: Videos which 'attack another race' cross the line, says Shanmugam on rap video by Preetipls

READ: 'Two wrongs don't make a right': Ministers, religious leaders on rap video and 'brownface' ad

In the video titled K Muthusamy, shot outside a food court featuring the e-payment ad, Ms Preeti and her brother Subhas rapped about racial stereotypes faced by the Indian and minority communities in Singapore.

The video was laced with profanity, targeting the Chinese. 

It was watched more than 40,000 times on Facebook. It was also uploaded on YouTube and a portion of it was posted on Instagram.

The ad the brother-sister duo were responding to, featured Mediacorp actor and deejay Dennis Chew portraying individuals from Singapore's four main races. 

The ad sparked backlash online after Chew, who is Chinese, appeared in "brownface" - the act of darkening one's fair skin to mimic that of another race - as an Indian character and as a Malay woman wearing a headscarf. It also showed the deejay cross-dressing as a Chinese woman. 

Mediacorp on Monday released a statement apologising for the ad campaign. 

"The message behind this advertising campaign is that e-payment is for everyone. For that reason, Dennis Chew, well-known for his ability to portray multiple characters in a single production in a light-hearted way, was selected as the face of the campaign," it said. 

"He appears as characters from different walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that everyone can e-pay. 

"We’re sorry for any hurt that was unintentionally caused. Behind the ad is an initiative to provide greater convenience to consumers, merchants and small food businesses.”

Mediacorp added: "The portrayal of some races in the advertisement was done in an insensitive fashion. We take full responsibility and apologise unreservedly.

"We will have more stringent safeguards in place to prevent a repeat of such a mistake.”

The E-Pay ad was a publicity campaign by NETS, which had engaged HAVAS Worldwide as its creative agency. 

HAVAS then engaged Mediacorp's celebrity management arm to cast Chew as the face of the campaign. 

Source: CNA/aa(rw)

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