Singapore – Two days after being nominated as an ambassador for Pink Dot’s 2019 campaign on LGBTQ+ discrimination and prejudice, Tosh Zhang released an emotional public statement to say that he is stepping down from the role. This came after some of his old homophobic tweets were dug up by the online community.
On May 16 (Thursday), actor Tosh Zhang shared the news that he was nominated as one of the ambassadors for Pink Dot 2019. However, the situation didn’t sit well with a member of the public, Sarah Yip, who recalled Tosh’s old tweets that showed discrimination for the LGBTQ+ community.
Although Sarah was fully supportive of Tosh’s role as a face for the campaign, she strongly felt that an apology and admittance of “mistakes and problematic behaviour” were needed. To this, Tosh responded with an apology.
However, based on the words of Tosh’s latest statement, it would seem as though his initial apology was not enough for many people and he has since received much flak for his past actions.
Read what Tosh said in the two-minute Instagram video below:
Hi everyone, this is Tosh. And…as you guys know, it has been a really rough few days for me. And…after thinking it through thoroughly, I have decided that I will step down as Pink Dot ambassador. The reason is because I don’t want to be a distraction and have the attention, the limelight and accommodation on me when Pink Dot should be a day when we celebrate love, celebrate the LGBTQ community and push for change and equality in Singapore. I know in my heart that I’m no longer that person from [a] decade ago.
And…people who know me and follow me on social media, you will know that I had always been standing up and pushing for LGBTQ rights in the past few years.
I’m sorry for all the people I’ve hurt with my old tweets. And I want you to know I’m really not that person anymore. Hope you guys…I hope you guys will catch me for the man that I grew to be and not the boy that I used to be.
Thank you to everyone who stuck by me in this difficult time.
He also added the following promise and endearment in his caption:
“I will continue to stand and speak up for true equality and positive change
Thank you to everyone who stuck by me and sent me words of encouragement. I’m sorry and I love y’all.”
Watch the video here.
In a follow-up post, Tosh explained that he had gotten an “overwhelming amount of hate” and it has gotten to him no matter how much he tried to be strong.
He added that he would be taking a break from social media.
Pink Dot SG was surprised at the announcement of Tosh and gave an update on their Facebook page which read,
“Statement on Tosh Rock’s decision to step down as Pink Dot Ambassador
The news of Tosh Zhang’s decision to step down as Pink Dot Ambassador has come as a surprise to us, as we were in the process of reaching out to him for discussion. Pink Dot SG has always advocated for the change of hearts and minds of Singaporeans where their views on LGBTQ rights are concerned. We believe the evolution of Tosh’s views over the years is a demonstration of the empathy and understanding that many Singaporeans are capable of. We respect Tosh’s decision to step down as our ambassador, and hope that he will continue to stand up for love and equality as a strong ally of the LGBTQ community.”
Statement on Tosh Rock’s decision to step down as Pink Dot Ambassador The news of Tosh Zhang's decision to step down…
Netizens showed their support for Tosh via the comments section and were disappointed at the response of those who sent hate towards Tosh.
Member of the public Jerald Tan did not agree with Tosh’s decision to step down from being an ambassador because for Tan, someone who has changed for the better has an essential characteristic of a good representative.
Lesley Low urged that everyone should focus on the bigger picture, which is “freedom to love” instead of wasting time and energy judging others who have already changed, and apologised for their past mistakes and behavior.
Meanwhile, May Chong, who respects Tosh’s decision to step down, is putting shame to those “in the LGBT+ community that demonstrated hostility towards those who are willing to change.”