Calls to cancel NOC's Sylvia Chan grow after fresh allegations of workplace abuse surface

Allegations with receipts.

Belmont Lay | October 20, 2021, 12:11 PM

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What is going on?

In what appears to be a collective effort at a coordinated exposé on Oct. 19, 2021, a group of current and former employees of Night Owl Cinematics (NOC) came together to put up a detailed blog with receipts and gave interviews to media platform Must Share News calling out their video production company's co-founder Sylvia Chan for behaving poorly towards subordinates and partners over the years.

The blog, set up by current and former employees of NOC, levelled a fresh set of allegations against Chan as well, among them claims of unethical and illegal behaviour.

How to read the allegations as a member of the public?

The allegations were made six days after Chan apologised with her only public statement in response to an initial batch of accusations.

The new allegations appear to be a calculated move given how the public has assumed Chan's apology would be the last they would hear of this topic.

Moreover, one set of the fresh allegations were published on a platform that is owned by The Smart Local (TSL), a fellow Singapore company that also produces lifestyle content and operates in the same industry as NOC.

Those who came forward to spill the beans now claim collectively they have resorted to airing dirty laundry in public as a last resort, having exhausted all other avenues of reaching out to Chan to better the situation.

How damaging are the fresh allegations?

The most damaging accusations in the blog came in the form of screen shots of text conversations Chan allegedly had with multiple people at different points in time, and also included screen recordings of her reactions during internal company meetings called to iron out disagreements and address welfare issues.

The blog post also accused Chan of infidelity, sexually exploiting her female talents, as well as criminal conduct pertaining to her fiduciary duties.

A lot of the content appears to be highly problematic as even reproducing them in whole or part in a news report in a good faith may inadvertently attract legal action or a Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) order.

However, the highlight of the screen shots of text messages did reveal a pattern to Chan's speech -- if indeed they were her responses -- in terms of her tone and substance in conversations.

She can be read as someone who appears to be often dismissive of others, and condescending, but ultimately, what she says is revelatory, as the texts are her non-public-facing personal takes on people and situations.

Here is a laundry list of accusations levelled against Chan:

1. Chan is accused of gaslighting a team of employees into thinking that one of them had complained about her ex-husband, Tan, of being incompetent.

2. Chan is accused of infidelity in January 2020, which was a few months before her official divorce with NOC co-founder Ryan Tan in March that same year.

3. Chan is accused of not taking an internal survey on sexual harassment seriously following the Dee Kosh incident, despite demanding her own staff to be serious.

4. Chan is accused of making personal attacks on employees in texts.

5. Chan is accused of fat-shaming another influencer, who has since publicly responded by asking Chan to "go eat s***".

6. Chan is accused of not being proper with financial matters involving Tan, as well as her own brother.

7. Chan is accused of using NOC's resources for her own venture into the food industry without the knowledge of some in the company.

8. Chan is accused of exploiting her female talents for business dealings that benefit her.

Calls to cancel Chan grow

In the wake of the new allegations, calls to cancel Chan have grown louder from members of the public.

One of the videos uploaded on Oct. 19 was watched more than 83,000 in five hours and attracted more than 150 comments.

Some of the comments in favour of removing Chan from her current role, where she supposedly holds a 51 per cent controlling stake in the company, said:

"I been following noc for the very start, it's very sad to see it how it was now, for slyvia I feel she is in depression where she should be stepping down and let Ryan run.

Time to unsubscribe from NOC!

Welp, time to start my own social media company and save all the talents including Ryan

Cancel her thanks. She doesn't deserve whatever she have now. Feelsbad for Ryan."

However, there are also those who were more nuanced in their take as they pointed out that there is a need to separate Chan from NOC:

"and this is why i am against cancelling NOC. Have you noticed that most people are jumping on the bandwagon when pages are promoting unsubscribing from the channel? Why is there a need to cancel a company whenever a wrong is done? Mind you, by cancelling and promoting cancelling NOC, you’re affecting the livelihoods of everyone else working in the company. STOP CANCEL CULTURE."

What do the current and former employees of NOC want out of this?

In the blog post that was put up, the whistleblowers stated a few outcomes they were gunning for.

The post in its introduction said their intention is not to bring NOC down, but to stop the staff mistreatment and for Chan to acknowledge her actions.

It read:

The employees (both past and present) have put their blood, sweat, and tears into NOC and it is not our intention to bring it down. If anything, all we do want is for Sylvia to be accountable for her misdeeds and mistreatment.

By the end of the post though, the demands became clearer.

The current employees hope to have Chan replaced, and for those who are planning on leaving NOC to exit the company without any conditions or consequences.

It read:

Through the years, we understand that Sylvia is no longer morally competent to carry NOC to greater heights with the welfare of its people in her mind. If NOC chooses to carry on developing within the Singapore digital media landscape, a more appropriate CEO will be a huge contribution factor.

We hope that existing employees and talents making attempts to leave NOC can be allowed to do so without any agreement/contractual binding consequences or to be silenced, and for charges against Ryan and employees to be dropped (if any).

No response from Chan yet

Mothership has reached out to Chan a number of times since Oct. 8, after the first allegations were published on Instagram.

Save for an initial acknowledgement of the first message, Chan has not replied to any of the subsequent ones.

All requests for a media statement were not answered. She was last active on the platform on Oct. 19.

We have reached out to her once more for this fresh set of allegations and will update this article if she replies.

NOC's YouTube subscriber base has fallen from 1 million to 995K subscribers, at this time of writing, ever since the saga started.

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Top image via EndTheSilenceSg/YouTube