In the latest turn of events, Singaporean blogger and influencer Wendy Cheng, who goes by the moniker "XiaXue", has privatised her blog and Twitter account. Cheng has also filed a harassment suit against the "mob".
In a statement to Marketing, Cheng said she has privatised her blog and twitter account temporarily because there is a mob going around searching for more fodder. She added that the mob is taking plenty of things she has said out of context, and she does not have the time to explain every statement she made years ago.
"Sensitivity levels are at an all time high right now and people are getting cancelled over things they said that were perfectly socially acceptable to say a few years ago. It’s ludicrous that they are punishing people for perceived crimes committed before the law was even set, so to speak," Cheng said.
Cheng also said since the filing of the harassment suit, she has successfully gotten two expedited protection orders from the court. This means the court deemed that the content written about her are harassing enough to warrant it be taken down immediately. Cheng is also currently considering other legal remedies such as defamation suits.
This move by Cheng follows almost a month after she was called out for her controversial comments on Twitter regarding migrant workers and transgender community made in 2010 and 2019 respectively.
Earlier last week, in light of recent happenings, online video network Clicknetwork TV dropped Cheng 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.
Clicknetwork TV was not the first brand to distant itself from Cheng. Earlier in the month, netizens took upon themselves to reach out to brands that have worked with Cheng to "hold her accountable" and have them "reconsider" future partnerships with her.
A Google document created by netizens and seen by Marketing compiled a list of brands that have worked with Cheng since January 2019. They include Benefit Cosmetics, Bio-essence Singapore, Clicknetwork, Sephora, AmorePacific, Lazada Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa, Liho Singapore, Domino's Pizza Singapore, OSIM, Magiclean, Dream Cruise Line, Daniel Wellington, Chir Chir Singapore, Caltex Singapore, Giga Experience, and Brother Singapore, among others.
The document also included screenshots of the brands and Cheng's past controversial tweets. "To make our voices matter, and to stop the harm Xiaxue is doing to racial minorities, the trans community, and immigrants, we need to raise awareness to the brands and companies that are financing her. This is one of the only ways to hold Xiaxue accountable," the document read.
This then prompted some brands to distance from Cheng, with some claiming that it was a one-time partnership and that they do not agree with the views that Cheng has presented.
In an earlier phone conversation with Marketing then, Cheng said she understood that not all brands know how to react when such a situation occurs, and there have been no prominent findings on whether there would be a difference in brand sales if they ignored the online furore or dissociated themselves with the influencer in question. "So far, the PR handbook is to follow what other brands have done, which is to either ignore or dissociate," she said, adding that a lot of times, brands feel that it is safer for them to dissociate as there will be no harm.
Cheng has since also posted a video on her IGTV channel addressing the topic of "cancel culture". She said 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. Additionally, she also offered five free Instagram ads to brands that want to defy cancel culture. The brands have two months to use up the ads.
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