NTU investigating student who crashed drag show & photographed performers in dressing room without consent

The producer of the drag show likened it to an act of crime.

Joshua Lee | September 24, 2021, 10:17 AM

Update: After this story was published, a law firm representing the student in question requested Mothership to scrub all references to her.

The law firm added that this story, which covers the allegations made by Becca D'Bus, caused the student "distress" and affected her reputation as she has a "considerable following on online social media platforms".

The law firm later informed us that the matter had been resolved amicably between the parties. 

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Nanyang Technological University's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information is investigating a student who allegedly crashed a drag show to photograph its performers and in the process, violated their privacy and modesty by photographing them in the dressing room without consent.

Becca D'Bus, a local drag performer and producer of drag show Commotion, took to Facebook on September 23 to recount the incident which involved a Year 3 student.

The incident

According to Becca's post, the student requested access to shoot a photo essay about her life as a drag queen for the latter's photojournalism course.

Becca declined.

The student then asked if she could get access to the drag show on September 12 to shoot it for her course work, and in return, do a complimentary shoot for the show.

Becca declined again because the show already hired a photographer. "I offered her access to shoot the show in October instead. I received no response," she wrote.

But come September 12, Becca arrived at The Projector (where the show was held) and found the student shooting one of the performers, despite being told earlier by the producer that she was not allowed to.

According to Becca, the student had approached a performer directly and received their permission to shoot them setting up their dressing room station and possibly also, rehearsing a number before the show.

Becca then acquiesced and told the student that she had to stop when the other performers arrived.

However, when the other performers arrived, she did not stop shooting.

Closer to showtime, Becca found the student shooting in the dressing room.

"At this point, I yelled at her to leave," wrote Becca, adding that she chose to disregard non-consent which had been "articulated explicitly three times".

"Are students even being taught how to ask for access? If a person has been refused access to an event, does it sound at all reasonable for the person to then ask another performer at said event for access? Thereby completely disregarding the producer’s refusal?"

Becca: Performers did not consent to having camera in dressing room

Becca — who also goes by the name Eugene Tan — further pointed out that the student had invaded the privacy of the performers' dressing room.

"For clarity, a drag queen dressing room involves performers literally manipulating their genitalia," Becca wrote.

While Becca did not mention if any of the performers in the dressing room were photographed in a state of undress, she said that none of the performers consented to having a camera in their dressing room.

"And let’s be honest here, if I said to you an unauthorised photographer was actively shooting in a dressing room in which there was a woman getting dressed (and there was), we’d plausibly be talking about criminality."

WKWSCI investigating

In an update to her post later that day, Becca added that she received two emails from NTU — one from the Chair of Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information and one from the Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

The former apologised for a late response (Becca said that she sent the chair two emails in a week) while the latter apologised on behalf of the school. Both promised to conduct an investigation.

NTU confirmed with Mothership that the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information is currently investigating the student.

Mothership reached out to the student for comment but she did not respond with her statement.

You can read Becca's post in full below:

Top images via Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information and A Bloody Commotion.

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