SINGAPORE, Aug 14 — YouTuber Preeti Nair and rapper Subhas Nair have been issued a conditional warning for the rap video that they had made in response to the “brownface” controversy, the police said in a statement today.
The police also said that they had received reports about the Nets advertisement, which the Nairs’ video was responding to, and that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has advised that there is no criminal offence disclosed in respect of the advertisement. The police said they will take no further action in relation to the advertisement.
The police said that they received a report about the Nairs’ video on July 29 and began an investigation. Ms Nair, better known by her moniker Preetipls, and Mr Nair admitted to the police that they had produced and published the video.
After consideration of the circumstances of the case and in consultation with the AGC, the police said they have handed the siblings a 24-month conditional warning under Section 298A(a) of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.
Under a conditional warning, the individual must remain crime-free throughout the period. If he reoffends, the authorities reserve the right to prosecute him for the original crime for which he was warned, as well as the new offence.
This section of the penal code proscribes the offence of promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or race and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.
“If this video were to be allowed, then similar expletive-laden, insulting, offensive videos, targeted at all communities will have to be allowed,” the police said, adding that “such paths inevitably lead to more racism, more racial tensions, and eventually violence”.
“It will be the minority communities, specifically the Malay and Indian communities, who could suffer more in such a situation. Singapore has taken a clear approach, to say no to offensive speech, targeted at race and religion,” the police added.
Ms Nair and Mr Nair have issued public apologies for the video, which they had made in response to a Nets advertisement about e-payments featuring Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew decked out as four characters, including an Indian man. For this character, Mr Chew was made up to look darker.
Ms Nair responds
In her latest statement posted on Facebook today, Ms Nair sought to close the chapter on the controversy, saying: “The case is closed.”
She added that she understood why people took offence to the video and that she would not try to justify its creation.
Still, she added: “Let’s hope we don’t see anymore painted faces and ‘offensive rap videos’ ever again.”
She said it “sickens” her when corporations “get away with major screw ups by doing the literal least”, and that “we should all strive to be more accountable, both individually and as corporations”.
She also extended her gratitude to those who did not try to kick her and Mr Nair while they were down, but instead attempted to understand discrimination in its various forms.
Also on Wednesday, the Info-communications Media Development Authority said in a statement that it had completed an assessment of the Nets advertisement. While the ad did not breach the Internet Code of Practice, it was done in poor taste and had caused offence to minority communities, the agency said.
It added that it has issued a stern reminder to the parties involved in the ad on the importance of paying attention to racial and religious sensitivities. — TODAY