Singapore—First came the NETS E-Pay campaign brownface ad, which caused its own measure of criticism.
Then came the reaction video from YouTube star Preetipls and her brother, rapper Subhas Nair, which not only sparked outrage from public officials, most especially from K. Shanmugam, the country’s Law and Home Affairs minister, but also a police investigation.
NETS pulled the ad almost immediately, and apologies were issued not only from Mediacorp, since one of its talents, Dennis Chew, starred in the ad, but also from Creative agency Havas Worldwide, the company behind the ad.
On their part, Preetipls and Subhas immediately complied with taking down the video as well.
And then Channel NewsAsia (CNA) announced that it would remove Subhas Nair from a music documentary in celebration of Singapore’s National Day on August 9, saying that the media outfit “strongly objects to all such offensive content which threatens racial harmony, and will not associate with individuals who intentionally create such content.
As a result, CNA has removed Mr Nair from its upcoming musical documentary ROAR and taken down the articles related to his involvement in the programme.”
And now, a petition is being circulated on change.org asking for a reversal of CNA’s decision, entitled “Against The Erasure of Migrant Communities and Their Stories from ROAR, a CNA Documentary.”
Started by art magazine Sand, the petition argues that Subhas Nair’s removal from ROAR would affect the migrant community as a whole.
“Erasing the narrative of migrant communities from the documentary sends the message that their stories do not matter, and that they are disposable. Their stories need to be told, and as an audience, we demand to hear them.”
It reads, “This petition is drawn up in support of Migrants Band Singapore. The band was to be featured on CNA’s musical documentary, ROAR, for their collaboration with the musician, Subhas Nair. As a result of removing Subhas from the documentary, it is likely that the stories of Migrants Band Singapore will also be silenced. The documentary is set to air on 3rd and 4th of August 2019.
Featuring Migrants Band Singapore in a documentary about music making and performance lifts up a community that lives on the margins of society, and brings their talents and voices to a larger platform.
CNA is a deeply respected and influential media platform, and we sincerely hope that they can reconsider their position on the matter.”
In two days, over 4,300 people have signed the petition, with many voicing support for the singer, and for the migrant community as a whole.