Online video network Clicknetwork TV has dropped Singaporean blogger and influencer Wendy Cheng, also popularly known as Xiaxue (pictured), as a host for its upcoming show The Public Investigator. In a Facebook post, the video network explained that it has always supported a diversity of opinions, voices, and open debate.
"While we appreciate the diversity of voices that all our hosts bring to the table, none of their personal views represent those of the channel," Clicknetwork said. It confirmed that it will proceeding with a different host for the show. According to Clicknetwork, there are many ways to shine a light on issues, and it does not support opinions delivered in a manner that is divisive. It added that it is "against racism, bigotry and hate".
Specifically, with regard to recent events, Clicknetwork said it has communicated this to Cheng. "Moving forward, we will continue to review potential projects with all our hosts with these guidelines clearly communicated. We will ensure that the Clicknetwork community takes greater care in their words and actions, and encourage all to do the same," the video network added.
Clicknetwork launched in 2007 and began working with Cheng in 2011 for her series Xiaxue's Guide to Life, which sees the influencer sharing practical and definitive advice on issues that netizens are curious about. According to the the network's YouTube channel, Xiaxue's Guide to Life has 225 videos, 3,798,007 views and was last updated on 8 May.
In a statement to Marketing, Cheng said the decision was only made for The Public Investigator. As such, it is not a definite end of the road for collaborations for future projects. "I feel sad and disappointed of course but I respect [Clicknetwork's] decision. I suppose all good things come to an end and we had a good run," she added.
Meanwhile, some netizens have voiced support for Clicknetwork standing up against racism. They have also said that there is a difference in giving a diverse opinion and spreading hate, and that the decision was well deserved. On the other hand, many have also criticised the video network for its hypocrisy.
Former Nuffnang CEO Cheo Ming Shen, who launched a social media agency together with Cheng last year named Rutosocial, said Clicknetwork should edit the statement to say that "Clicknetwork used to support a diversity of opinions, voices and open debate". Cheo added that Cheng has been a known quantity (in opinion, views or the like) to Clicknetwork since its founding. "In fact, its very foundations were built on the back of Cheng's opinions, views, and networks. More has been lost than this drab and unfeeling statement expresses. Honour, loyalty, integrity, courage, and more...RIP that Clicknetwork of the past," he said.
Meanwhile, other netizens also said that Cheng made the Clicknetwork brand relevant and successful, and that it was hypocritical of the network to have turned on a founding pillar who helped build up the channel and bowing to the cancel culture and cyber bullies.
Separately, Cheng recently addressed the topic of cancel culture in an IGTV, giving five free Instagram ads to brands that want to defy cancel culture. The brands have two months to use up the ads.
She also explained in the IGTV that supporters of cancel culture defend it simply as consequences of bad actions and this is largely done in the name of social change. She describes cancel culture as the mob forming to punish transgressors when they are perceived to have committed some kind of unacceptable social behaviour.
"Do not mistake cancel culture for boycotting," she said, adding that cancel culture is a select group of individuals who are obsessed with causing harm, such as making police reports against her or taking choice snippets of her words out of context and calling her a racist or trans-phobic. Explaining the difference between boycotting and cancel culture, Cheng said boycotting is when a company chooses not to work with an influencer because she or he does not represent their values. Cancel culture, on the other hand, is when brands are being forced to make a choice because of the harassment they have been receiving.
"Do you think the companies that have dropped me right now do not know my personality before this saga? They know because I have always been very consistent. Most of the clients told me they cannot be seen as ignoring the constant harassing that they have been receiving, so they had to do what the woke mob dictates," Cheng said in the IGTV.
She also told Marketing previously that cancel culture does not discriminate and brands should not “embolden the mob” as some might not have intentions riddled with "toxicity". She also stressed that this vocal group of individuals do not represent all. "When they say they will boycott a brand, the first thing to consider is also whether they were ever going to be customers in the first place. Brands should not pander to them. It tells people that brands agree with cancel culture," she explained.
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