Slightly more than two weeks since Preetipls’ video was reported to the police for “offensive content”, the police have completed their investigations.
In a statement released by the police on Wednesday, the police said they considered the circumstances of the case and consulted the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), and have given Preeti Nair (better known as Preetipls) and her brother Subhas a 24-month conditional warning over their controversial online rap video made in response to a “brownface” advertisement.
This means they must remain crime-free for 24 months or they may be dealt with in court for both their original and new offences.
“The message behind this music video is that opportunities must be for everyone. For that reason, K. Muthusamy, well-known for his ability to address privilege, power, and censorship in a single production in a light-hearted way, was selected as the face of this music video. He speaks to characters from all walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that only some people truly pay.”
They added: “We’re sorry for any hurt that was unintentionally caused. Behind the music video is an initiative to provide greater consciousness to consumers, corporations, and the many faces of Singapore.”
It should be noted that their apology statement bears a lot of similarities to the one that Mediacorp put out after the ‘brownface’ ad incident.
Mediacorp’s apology statement reads:
“The message behind this advertising campaign is that e-payment is for everyone.
For that reason, Dennis Chew, well-known for his ability to portray multiple characters in a single production in a light-hearted way, was selected as the face of the campaign. He appears as characters from different walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that everyone can e-pay.
“We’re sorry for any hurt that was unintentionally caused. Behind the ad is an initiative to provide greater convenience to consumers, merchants and small food businesses.”
The police are investigating Preetipls’ latest video, after a report against it has been lodged for allegedly containing offensive content.
The rap video, which also features her brother, rapper Subhas Nair, was posted on Facebook and YouTube on Monday (July 29). As of this (July 30) afternoon, the 2 min 50 sec-long video was taken down from Facebook and other social media platforms.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam has responded, saying that the Ministry of Communications and Information has also asked social media platform Facebook to take the video down. He added that he has asked the police to investigate the matter.
Preetipls’ parody of Iggy Azalea’s song F*ck It Up was uploaded in response to a recent “brownface” advertisement by e-payments website epaysg.com.
Brownface in a Singaporean ad in 2019. I thought we already went over this… pic.twitter.com/ypTEbVYH8x
— ruby (@RubyThiagarajan) July 26, 2019
The ad featured Mediacorp actor and DJ Dennis Chew portraying characters such as a woman in a tudung and a man with visibly darker skin.
Broadcaster Mediacorp, through its celebrity management wing, later apologised for the controversial ad and the epaysg.com website has also removed it.
On the epaysg.com advertisement, Mr Shanmugam noted that 30 years ago, people would have said it was in “poor taste” and “passé”.
“Today, I think it’s worse than that. You need that cultural sensitivity. You have a Chinese brown out the face and pass off as Indian or Malay, there’s going to be a lot of distaste,” he noted.
“Similar things have happened in other countries and really, they should have taken a reference from that to see how people will react,” he added.
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He also said that Preetipls’ video “crosses the line”.
“This rap video insults Chinese Singaporeans, uses four-letter words on Chinese Singaporeans, vulgar gestures, pointing of middle finger, to make minorities angry with Chinese Singaporeans,” he said.
“When you use four-letter words, vulgar language, attack another race, put it out in public, we have to draw the line and say [it’s] not acceptable,” he told reporters.
Text: Ng Hui Wen, Adrian Lim / The Straits Times