The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group, has spoken up against YouTuber Dee Kosh’s hypocrisy, in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal involving the 32-year-old.
Over the past weekend, several individuals alleged that Dee tried to sexually groom teenage boys under the guise of wanting to work with them. Alleged victims shared screenshots online that appeared to show inappropriate messages from Dee – whose real name is Darryl Koshy – offering boys half his age large amounts of money in exchange for sexual favours.
Dee initially denied all allegations and even engaged a lawyer to issue a cease and desist letter to an alleged victim before admitting some wrongdoing. In an apology post published on Monday, he said that he now “admit(s) that there is truth to some of the things which are being said now, and I am sorry to the people I have hurt in the process.”
In a Facebook post published this afternoon (19 Aug), AWARE highlighted how it was invited to participate in Dee’s podcast ‘The Tea With Dee’ a few weeks ago, to talk about sexual violence. AWARE’s executive director Corinna Lim appeared on the show and counselled two rape survivors who shared their accounts on the podcast.
AWARE said that Dee was sympathetic to the rape survivors and expressed horror when they recounted the violence that occurred to them. Pointing out how hypocritical Dee’s sympathy for the survivors now is in light of the sexual harassment allegations against him, AWARE said:
“Reflecting on that now, it’s hard not to feel some level of hypocrisy, or even a sense of exploitation—that this allegiance with survivors was meant to signal to Kosh’s audience some sort of progressive understanding that wasn’t actually there.”
The organisation added: “We imagine that these survivors, and many more in his audience, may be feeling quite betrayed right now.”
In the same post, AWARE slammed Dee’s alleged action of propositioning teenagers for sex as “deplorable” if true and commended the alleged victims for their bravery. The group said: “We commend all the individuals who have spoken up thus far about their experiences.
“We know how difficult it can be for men in particular to come forward about situations of abuse and exploitation, thanks to misguided societal ideas relating to homosexuality and machismo. It is not easy, as well, to call out a powerful public figure and stand your ground in the face of gaslighting and threats of litigation.”
Asserting that it is wrong to engage a minor in sexual conversation and that any quid pro quo sexual harassment situation is unacceptable, AWARE pointed out that any consent becomes gray at best in a situation involving a clear power differential – such as age gap, fame or professional position – between the parties.
Adding that this should be especially clear to an adult like Dee, AWARE also expressed solidarity with local poet Nicole Choo and publisher Eliza Teoh who recounted how Dee bullied them online, in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations.
Read the statement in full here:
[Content warning: sexual violence] Allegations have recently come to light that Dee Kosh propositioned teenagers for…
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