Kiss92 in social media storm following racially offensive comment

Singapore Press Holding’s (SPH) female-centric radio station Kiss92 has come under fire by netizens for a segment that was deemed as “racially offensive”.

The segment called Maddy, Jason & Arnold In The Morning is a popular morning show hosted by radio DJs Maddy Barber, Jason Johnson and Arnold Gay. The three hosts were discussing a recent study which reported that the Chinese population had sufficient sleep while the Malays and Indians lacked in clocking in enough snooze hours.

One listener Raeesah Khan, who took offense at the segment, ranted on her personal Facebook that during the segment, the hosts expressed surprise that Chinese subjects in the study got more sleep as opposed to their Malay and Indian counterparts. They then proceeded to talk about “how Malays and Indians work less, and go out and party” while the Chinese were “sending their children to school and go to work early”.

Read her full post here:

Her post had about 72 reactions and 24 shares, several of which expressed displeasure at the Kiss 92 DJs’ comments.  Khan also roped in Esso, an advertiser for the station, into the discussion. He said: “Esso Singapore your organization just supported a racist segment, what would your Indian and Malay customers say?”

Marketing has reached out to Esso and SPH. Meanwhile, IMDA has responded saying the segment on Kiss92 is currently being reviewed by the governing body.

“All radio programmes must comply with the Free-To-Air Radio Programme Code which can be found here,” the spokesperson explained.

While SPH was unreachable at the time of writing, a quick check showed that the fast growing station Kiss92 had already put up a statement on their Facebook page addressing the matter. The writer of the post was Barber, who is a host of the show and who was part of the discussion, said that the intention was not to “hurt or belittle anyone or any race”. Here is the full post:

However, the statement was met with some backlash, with social media users criticising the station for issuing a non-apology.

(Read also: Toggle’s use of black face makeup on Chinese actor backfires)

One user even called for the station to release the full audio for additional context on the segment.

Maressa Zahirah Kiss92

This is not the first time SPH Radio has gotten into hot water because of its DJs. In 2013, HOTFM913 (now called ONE FM 91.3) dropped its deejays and its morning radio segment The Married Men for airing inappropriate content. The termination came as a result of a prank call in its Kena Pluck segment.

The station has since hired radio veterans Glenn Ong and The Flying Dutchman from competitor Mediacorp. Ong too is no stranger to criticism. In 2014, the Media Development Authority (MDA) fined Mediacorp SG$6,300 for breaching the Free-To-Air (FTA) radio programme code. This saw a deejay on Mediacorp’s Class 95 ‘Morning Express’ programme using a derogatory term to describe a visually impaired woman. The same term was again used on air the following day by the same deejay.


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