SINGAPORE: The controversy surrounding a Mothership article about a content creator from China occurred in September, but the managing editor of the media outlet recently issued an apology over the matter.
The content creator, a woman named Lin Lin who goes by @b.linling on TikTok, ended up being bullied online after a Mothership piece was published on Sept 19 titled, “Woman from China feels going to S’pore doesn’t feel like going abroad as Chinese brands galore.”
In Mothership’s original headline, however, Lin Lin is referred to as a “tourist,” although she has lived and worked in Singapore for eight years. The piece had been based on a video she had posted in June on Xiaohongshu comparing stores in China and Singapore.
In a TikTok video, however, Lin Lin said that Mothership had made up “a false identity” for her and that she “felt regret and disappointment” at the stores she showed in the Xiaohongshu video.
Unfortunately, Mothership’s characterization of Lin Lin ended up with harsh comments online, including some from readers who told the “tourist” to “go home.
However, when she reached out to the news site to ask that the “false content” be taken down, sending a Direct Message via Facebook and leaving a comment on Mothership’s Instagram account, she was allegedly ignored.
Lin Lin posted a video on TikTok showing her feelings, which can still be viewed here.
More recently, an apology from Mothership’s managing editor, Martino Tan, was also shared on Reddit. In it, he explains that the media outlet had been receiving “many messages, expressing anger and disappointment” for weeks over the matter but could not respond to the issue until it had been resolved with Lin Lin, and she agreed to a public response.
Mr Tan acknowledged that she “became the target of inappropriate xenophobic and hateful comments, and despite reaching out the same day the piece was published, “her feedback was not attended to promptly.”
An editor who had noticed her feedback removed the mentions of Lin Lin as a “tourist” but did not forward Lin Lin’s concerns to the supervising editor.
Mr Tan only learned about the incident after she put up her TikTok video.
“I put the editor responsible on immediate suspension pending and internal review, updated the article with an editor’s note, highlighting the inaccuracy and immediately reached out to Lin Lin to apologise.”
He added that Lin Lin has accepted Mothership’s apology. MR Tan also said that he has “fully accepted her view that we should have been more prompt in responding to her initial feedback, I shared that it was never our intention to represent her or present information in a way that might insight anger or xenophobia towards her.”
The errant editor has since been subject to “severe” monetary and non-monetary penalties for having violated protocol and not responding to Lin Lin right away.
“There were many fair and constructive criticisms from our audiences, which we accept fully. The privilege to serve our audience is a responsibility we take seriously. My colleagues and I are committed to improving, and we will continue to do our very best to serve you better,” he wrote. /TISG