Singapore—Another celebrity has landed in hot soup for using brownface in a recent video.
This time, it’s Malaysian musician Choo Hao Ren.
Mr Choo’s video featured Ms Qiu Wen, an Instagram influencer, in brownface, and was met with angry responses from some people.
It has since been taken down.
The video was posted on YouTube on Sunday, Jan 24, and shows Ms Qiu as student made fun of by her classmates because of her dark skin.
In the video called “White Doll,” Mr Choo plays her secret admirer who sends her gifts, including a successful whitening product that causes her to become popular and accepted by others.
The video is actually an advertisement for Snowbebe, a skin-whitening product.
And while the video was removed from Mr Choo’s YouTube channel, it can still be seen on other channels.
Netizens lambasted the singer and the ad for featuring a woman of Chinese ethnicity who had used makeup to darken her skin, and for sending the message that fair skin is the standard of beauty.
“This is disgusting, wrong, dehumanising and stupid. Educate yourself, I don’t [care] if the idea is to show a message.
The girl in the video can take off that make up but [there are people who] deal with discrimination every day of their lives. If you want to highlight that, you wouldn’t do something like this,” wrote one commenter.
On Tuesday morning (Jan 26), Mr Choo issued an apology on his social media channels.
“I am deeply sorry,” he said in his apology video, “Please allow me to clarity (sic) further the storyline…to avoid further misunderstanding.”
He explained that having Ms Qiu darken her skin was important in telling the story of a sunburnt girl who was able to “recover from her sunburn… and everyone was surprised and happy for her.“
The Mandopop star went on to say, “I hope to have your kind understanding that my original intention is to imply on the effects on sunburned skin and never my intention to create any racial (sic) sensitive topics.”
He also shared the lyrics of the song in English for those who don’t speak Mandarin.
On Monday evening, he wrote in a Facebook post that the video had been “temporarily removed” from his channel and that he hoped to have a discussion about the video.
“In Malaysia, a country with strong sunlight, is it really inappropriate to do a tanned makeup on actor to present a plot of sunburnt? (sic) Even-though the story end up show (sic) unconditional love from the boy towards the tanned skin girl?”
He invited commenters to weigh in with their opinions, which he said he welcomed.
Some said that the issue is not about sunburnt skin.
Some netizens encouraged him to educate himself.
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