Nets apologises for 'brownface' ad

Apologise for any hurt caused.

Belmont Lay | August 01, 2019, 01:00 PM

Nets has issued an apology over the recent "brownface" ad featuring Chinese Mediacorp actor and deejay Dennis Chew.

The e-payment firm apologised on Thursday, Aug. 1 for any hurt caused by its recent advertising campaign to promote cashless payments.

"Nets would like to apologise for any hurt that its campaign has caused. The intent of the campaign was to communicate that e-payment is for everyone," the company said in a statement.

Tumultuous events

The ad showed Chew portraying different characters, including one of a woman in a tudung, as well as a man with darker skin.

Nets' role

Nets was appointed as the "master acquirer" for a unified e-payment solution.

It is to handle payment transactions and drive adoption of e-payment in small food businesses at hawker centres, canteens and coffee shops.

Multi-agency effort

It comes under a multi-agency effort led by Enterprise Singapore to promote cashless payments.

The National Environment Agency, the Housing Board and JTC Corporation are the other agencies involved in the e-payment initiative.

The ad has been slammed for being insensitive and offensive.

Police reports have been made against the ad and the response rap video by YouTuber Preeti Nair and her brother, rapper Subhas Nair.

Enterprise Singapore has not responded to media queries.

Other removal

Broadcaster Mediacorp has apologised for the ad through its celebrity management wing.

The website has also removed visuals of Chew.

CNA has also removed Nair from a music documentary.

Its statement on Wednesday said: "CNA strongly objects to all such offensive content which threatens racial harmony and will not associate with individuals who intentionally create such content."

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) also said on Wednesday that individuals and Internet platforms have been asked to remove the video.

The police and IMDA also advised people to refrain from circulating the rap video.