Singapore — Artist brother and sister Preeti Nair and Subhas Nair have been given a conditional warning by the police for the rap video they released as a response to a NETS Pay ad that used brownface.
The video caused a stir and elicited widespread condemnation for its use of vulgarity and profanity, especially against the Chinese community.
Ms Nair, commonly known as Preetipls, produces videos on YouTube and Mr Nair is a well-known rapper.
On August 14, Wednesday, the two received a 24-month conditional warning under Section 298A(a) of the Penal Code, Chapter 224, from the police, who issued the warning after consulting with the Attorney-General’s Chamber (AGC).
This section of the Penal Code deals with the maintenance of racial harmony.
This kind of warning is commonly given to first-time offenders, and if they repeat the offence, they will most likely face charges.
According to the police, they also received reports about the NETS ad to which the Nair siblings reacted, but the AGC has found no evidence of criminal offense with respect to the ad. No further action will be taken by the police.
The police said, “The Attorney-General’s Chambers has advised that there is no criminal offence disclosed in respect of the advertisement. The police will take no further action in relation to the advertisement.”
However, regarding the Nair siblings’ video, the police said, “Ms Nair and Mr Nair admitted to the police that they had produced and published the video. The video was in clear contravention of the Penal Code. If this video were to be allowed, then similar expletive-laden, insulting, offensive videos, targeted at all communities will have to be allowed.”
The police added that “Such paths inevitably lead to more racism, more racial tensions, and eventually violence.
It will be the minority communities, specifically the Malay and Indian communities, who could suffer more in such a situation. Singapore has taken a clear approach, to say no to offensive speech, targeted at race and religion.”
The Nair siblings have since apologized more than once for the video.
Dennis Chew, who appeared in the original NETS advertisement that started the controversy, also apologized last week. Previous to this, Mediacorp, for which Mr Chew is a talent, also apologized for the ad, as did ad agency Havas Worldwide, who had been hired by NETS to do the publicity campaign in the advertisement.
While the initial NETS ad was criticized, what added fuel to the fire was the video from the Nair siblings. The video has since been taken down from social media and other sites online after the IMDA issued takedown notices against those who share or repost the video.
The Nairs’ video, “K Muthusamy”, was widely condemned, forcibly taken down from all social media platforms, and was investigated by the police for its “offensive content.” It proved to be polarizing as well, with some people defending the Nair siblings in the matter.
Mr Chew wrote on his Instagram account last week, “My role in a recent ad has caused much disappointment.
For many days I held back what I have to say, afraid of making things worse. I feel terrible about how things turned out.
I cannot undo things but I would like to say to everyone, I am deeply sorry.
We live in a harmonious multiracial society and we must never take it for granted. I will set higher expectations of myself. I will do better by my family, friends, colleagues and most importantly, all of you.” -/TISG