The Singapore Police Force will be investigating an online video by sibling duo Preeti Nair (better known as Preetipls) a social influencer and musician Subhas Nair that is directed against Mediacorp's viral "brownface" ad. In a statement, the police said that a report has been lodged against the video for "offensive content". The statement also further added that the police will not tolerate any offensive content that causes ill-will between races.
This comes after social personality Preeti uploaded a video titled "K. Muthusamy" with brother Subhas to call out E-Pay for being racist. In the video, the duo are seen repeatedly saying "Chinese people always out here f***king it up". Subhas is also dressed similarly to the brown-toned get-up by Mediacorp actor and DJ Dennis Chew in the original ad. The video has since been removed. Marketing has reached out to Preetipls for comment.
The ad by E-Pay first got the attention of netizens over the weekend. It was then riled up on social media for being insensitive for featuring Chew impersonating different races – with darkened skin tones and wearing a headscarf. In the online sphere, several conversations were around why one person was given different roles to play when individuals belonging to all four races in Singapore could have been engaged instead.
In a joint statement to Marketing, Mediacorp’s celebrity management arm The Celebrity Agency and Havas Worldwide apologised for any hurt that was unintentionally caused and the ad was an initiative to provide greater convenience to consumers, merchants and small food businesses.
"The message behind this advertising campaign was 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 and he appears as characters from different walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that everyone can e-pay," the statement read.