SINGAPORE – Local YouTuber Preeti Nair and her brother Subhas were on Wednesday (Aug 14) given a conditional warning over their controversial online rap video.
In a statement on Wednesday, the police said they have completed their investigations into the video, which allegedly contained offensive content.
The police said they considered the circumstances of the case and consulted the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), and have given the siblings a 24-month conditional warning.
A police report was made on July 29, after the video was posted on Facebook and YouTube on the same day.
The siblings later admitted to the police that they had produced and published the video.
“The video was in clear contravention of the Penal Code,” the police said in their statement.
“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 added there is clear evidence around the world, including in the past week, 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,” they added.
Ms Nair and Mr Nair subsequently issued public apologies for their actions.
Ms Nair’s video was made in response to an advertisement featuring Mediacorp actor and DJ Dennis Chew. He was pictured as four characters – apparently a Chinese man and woman, a Malay woman wearing a tudung, and, with his skin darkened, an Indian man.
The ad was created for epaysg.com, an e-payments website.
Mr Chew also apologised for his role in the ad, saying: “My role in a recent ad has caused much disappointment. For many days I held back what I have to say, afraid of making things worse. I feel terrible about how things turned out.”
Mr Chew’s post comes after several apologies on the incident, including those by e-payment firm Nets and creative agency Havas Worldwide Singapore.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said the video crossed the line and was unacceptable. “When you use four-letter words, vulgar language, attack another race, put it out in public, we have to draw the line and say ‘not acceptable’,” he said.
He also said the siblings had every right to discuss racism, but the manner in which they did so was wrong.
“We want to build a cohesive society, but racism corrodes and deepens the fault lines in society. We do a lot to counter it, and we have set out what we do,” he added.
In their statement, the police said they also received reports on the e-pay advertisement, which had been referenced in the rap video.
The AGC has advised that there is no criminal offence disclosed in respect of the advertisement, the police said, adding that no further action would be taken.