SINGAPORE: YouTube star Preeti Nair and her brother, rapper Subhas Nair, have been given conditional warnings for a controversial rap video they produced, the police said in a news release on Wednesday (Aug 14).
The video, which questioned the use of "brownface" in an E-Pay advertisement, featured Ms Nair, also known as Preetipls, and her brother using vulgar language on the Chinese community.
Uploaded on Jul 29, it was watched more than 40,000 times on Facebook before being taken down. It was also uploaded on YouTube and a portion of it was shared on Instagram.
"Ms Nair and Mr Nair 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.
"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 that 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. Ms Nair and Mr Nair have subsequently issued public apologies for their actions," the news release added.
In consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the police on Wednesday gave the siblings a 24-month conditional warning under a section of the Penal Code dealing with the maintenance of racial harmony.
A conditional warning is usually issued for first-time offenders, who will likely be charged if they reoffend during that period.
The police said that they also received reports regarding an E-Pay advertisement, which featured a portrayal of different races by an actor and which had been referenced in the rap video.
"The Attorney-General’s Chambers has advised that there is no criminal offence disclosed in respect of the advertisement. The police will take no further action in relation to the advertisement," the news release said.
Actor and deejay Dennis Chew has apologised for his part in the advertisement by NETS to promote the E-Pay platform.
Chew, who is Chinese, appeared in "brownface" to portray an Indian man in the ad. He also cross-dressed as a Malay woman and a Chinese woman.
Following an assessment, the Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) on Wednesday said that the ad did not breach the Internet Code of Practice.
It had, however, been "done in poor taste and had caused offence to minority communities", the IMDA spokesperson added.
"IMDA has thus issued a stern reminder to the parties involved in the Ad on the importance of paying attention to racial and religious sensitivities.
"IMDA expects all advertising companies and other content producers to be similarly mindful of these sensitivities. IMDA will not hesitate to take action against any content that is found to be in breach of our Codes of Practice and guidelines," said the spokesperson.