Pink Dot 2019 ambassador Tosh Zhiang gets called out for homophobic tweets, gives public apology

The actor said that his comments on the LGBTQ community in the past were due to his ignorance and being young and insensitive to the trials and tribulations they faced

Photo: Facebook screengrab

Singapore – A member of the public questioned the sincerity of nominating Tosh Zhang to be one of Pink Dot’s campaign on LGBTQ discrimination and prejudice when he has tweeted numerous homophobic comments in the past.

On May 16 (Thursday), a certain Sarah Yip went to Facebook to share a concern she had regarding the news that Tosh Zhang became one of Pink Dot’s ambassadors.

“Now, I never ever forget when someone says something questionable, and I recall seeing posts of his over the years that formed a really bad impression of him in my mind, so you can imagine my surprise when I read the news,” wrote Sarah.

She went to work digging up the tweets to appease her suspicions and posted the following:

“I got gay friends and am totally cool with gay guys…until they hit on me. #OhHellNaw”, he tweeted.

Photo: FB screengrab

In another tweet, he sl*t-shamed girls with, “If U dress+behave like a sl*t, don’t ask why guys don’t respect or cherish U. It’s human nature to not appreciate what’s obtained easily.

Photo: FB screengrab

He also included Justin Beiber in his past tweets.

Photo: FB screengrab

There were some alarming ones like the tweet below:

Photo: FB screengrab

Tosh has been very vocal in his stance on the LGBTQ community in the past.

Those wondering or are updated on Tosh’s life will know that he has grown out of discriminating the LGBTQ community. Sarah’s point was not to shame the ambassador.

It is important to her that “someone chosen as the face of [Pink Dot’s] movement is also someone who show growth and maturity by publicly admitting their problematic behavior.”

“I am not calling for him to be removed as an ambassador, but I am expressing my discomfort at having someone who has shown this kind of behaviour be the face of Singapore’s only mainstream LGBTQ+ campaign. Growth is certainly possible, but only when we come forward and admit our mistakes and problematic behavior,” added Sarah.

Read the full post here.

Quick to reply was Tosh Zhang who wrote in a comment:

“Hello Sarah, I’d like to personally apologise to you and all members of the LGBTQ community which I have hurt with my extremely insensitive tweets from years ago. They were from around 2011, before I became an actor, and back then I was deeply ignorant to the discrimination, pain and struggles that LGBTQ people face everyday. I understand where you are coming from and I acknowledge my wrongs, I take full responsibility for my hurtful words and I’d like to apologise to you and everyone who is affected. I’d like to assure you and the LGBTQ community that I am no longer that F’ed up person and I stand with you. I decided to support the PinkDot movement because as a straight Chinese male in Singapore who is of the privileged majority, I want to do my part and fight against discrimination and stand up for true equality in Singapore, and not just national-pledge-say-say-only-equality. Once again, I am deeply sorry and I hope you and those I’ve hurt, accept my apology.”

He also posted the following on Instagram

View this post on Instagram

I’m one of the #PinkDot11 ambassadors this year & I’m supporting the movement because as a straight Chinese male in Singapore who is of the privileged majority, I wanna do my part & fight against discrimination & stand up for equality for ALL Singaporeans, no matter your race, religion, class, sexual orientation or gender identity. Years ago I used to be ignorant to the pain, struggles & discrimination that our LGBTQ brothers & sisters face everyday. I recall when I was much younger, saying insensitive things about LGBTQ people without giving it much thought or considering how my words would hurt people. Looking back now I feel awful & disgusted that I spoke that way. It had never occured to me back then to try & understand what life was like for them as I had never experienced discrimination in SG as a straight Chinese male and I was oblivious to the unspoken privileges I enjoyed that our minorities don’t. Over the years as I matured, expanded my circle & connected with people from various walks of life all over the globe, my views evolved & changed. I learnt to treat & respect people as HUMAN before anything else and to measure a person by the content of their character and how they treat others, rather than their race, religion, class, sexual orientation or gender identity. There are people close to me who have inspired or made an impact on me both personally & professionally, who are from the LGBTQ community. They are people I hold dear and it’s saddening to know they face discrimination & stigma from society simply for being who they are. They are our fellow Singaporeans but they’re not accorded the same rights as everyone else. They’re hardly represented in mainstream media. They’re unable to get married to the love of their lives. We’ve an outdated law like 377A which criminalises gay men & though the law is not enforced, the fact that it still exists in a first-world nation like ours, is IMO utterly wrong. The only thing that’s truly constant is change and I believe positive change we can & will achieve, together as ONE people! #LiveAndLetLive #LoveAndLetLove #AgainstDiscrimination

A post shared by Tosh Zhang 张智扬 ???????????? (@toshrock) on

Netizens shared their support for the movement and for Tosh’s change in mindset.

More information on the Pink Dot 2011 campaign: