Preetipls, Subhas Nair 'sorry for any hurt' over controversial video criticising NETS E-Pay ad

Preetipls, Subhas Nair 'sorry for any hurt' over controversial video criticising NETS E-Pay ad

preetipls and subhas
Local Internet star Preetipls and her brother, rapper Subhas. (Photos: @preetipls/Instagram, @subhasmusic/Instagram)

SINGAPORE: YouTubers Preetipls, whose real name is Preeti Nair, and her brother Subhas on Friday (Aug 2) said they were "sorry for any hurt" caused by a controversial video they created to criticise a NETS E-Pay advertisement. 

In an Instagram post, the duo said: "We're sorry for any hurt that was unintentionally caused.

"Behind the music video is an initiative to provide greater consciousness to consumers, corporations, and the many faces of Singapore."

The siblings also said that the message behind the music video was "that opportunities must be for everyone".

"For that reason, K Muthusamy, well-known for his ability to address privilege, power and censorship in a single production in a light-hearted way, was selected as the face of this music video.

"He speaks to characters from all walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that only some people truly pay."

Their statement bears resemblance to the apologies issued by NETS, its creative agency Havas Worldwide and Mediacorp’s celebrity management arm, The Celebrity Agency.

On Monday, Havas and The Celebrity Agency had said: "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."

On Thursday, Havas issued a fresh apology and said: "Havas Worldwide Singapore would like to apologise for any hurt caused by the recent campaign to communicate that e-payment is for everyone.

"The message behind the campaign is that e-pay is for people across all age groups and demographics. Our multicultural society defines us as a nation, and we regret if anyone has been offended by the campaign."

Separately, Mediacorp had on Tuesday also issued a statement, noting that: “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.”

On its part, NETS said the intent of the campaign was to "communicate that e-payment is for everyone", and apologised for "any hurt that its campaign had caused".

In the ad, Chinese personality Dennis Chew 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 him cross-dressing as a Chinese woman.

The three-minute video by the siblings, posted on social media on Monday, criticised the E-Pay ad for its stereotypical portrayals of the different races in Singapore. The video was laced with profanity, targeting the Chinese.

Police on Tuesday said it was investigating the video for "offensive content" after a report was lodged against it.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority on Tuesday issued a takedown of the video, which was also uploaded on YouTube and a portion of it was posted on Instagram.

Ministers and religious leaders weighed in to criticise the video, with Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam saying that a line has to be drawn on videos that "attack another race". 

Source: CNA/jt(mi)

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