Local actor Tosh Zhang announced on May 18 his decision to step down as an ambassador for Pink Dot 2019 -- three days after the ambassadorship was announced.
This came after Zhang received flak for old homophobic tweets he tweeted between 2010 and 2013.
The announcement was made via a two-minute Instagram video, which featured Zhang addressing his followers.
The post was titled, "I will continue to stand and speak up for true equality and positive change".
In case you cannot see it:
His caption reads:
"I will continue to stand and speak up for true equality and positive change
Thank you to everyone who stuck by me and sent me words of encouragement. I’m sorry and I love y’all."
What he said in the video
Zhang started off by saying that it's been a "really rough few days" for him, and after "thinking it through thoroughly", he has decided to step down as an ambassador for Pink Dot 2019.
The reason, he explained, is because he doesn't want to be a "distraction" to the event, with the attention and limelight focused on him.
Instead, the day should be about celebrating love and the LGBTQ community, as well as pushing for change and equality in Singapore, Zhang said.
Zhang also said that he knows in his heart that he is no longer the same person as before, and that people who know and follow him would know that he has been standing up for LGBTQ rights in the past few years.
At this part, Zhang appeared to be on the verge of crying, and had some difficulty getting the words out.
He then apologised for the people he has hurt with his old tweets, and emphasised that he is not that person anymore.
Zhang shed tears at this point, which he wiped away.
With a lowered head, he sniffled and said:
"I hope you guys will judge me for the man that I grew to be, and not the boy that I used to be."
He ends the video by thanking everyone who has stuck by him in these difficult times.
Update on May 18, 8:01pm: Zhang has uploaded another post on Instagram, announcing that he is going to take a rest from social media as the amount of hate he has been getting is "overwhelming":
Update on May 18, 10:04pm: Pink Dot SG has released a statement, saying that Zhang's decision has come as a "surprise".
You can read the full statement here:
"The news of Tosh Zhang's decision to step down as Pink Dot Ambassador has come as a surprise to us, as we were in the process of reaching out to him for discussion. Pink Dot SG has always advocated for the change of hearts and minds of Singaporeans where their views on LGBTQ rights are concerned. We believe the evolution of Tosh's views over the years is a demonstration of the empathy and understanding that many Singaporeans are capable of. We respect Tosh's decision to step down as our ambassador, and hope that he will continue to stand up for love and equality as a strong ally of the LGBTQ community."
Top image via Tosh Zhang's Instagram