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Mediacorp fined $5,500 by IMDA for offensive remarks made on drama series

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has announced that it imposed a financial penalty of $5,500 on Mediacorp Pte Ltd (Mediacorp) for breaching the Video-On-Demand Programme Code.

An episode of Toggle’s Chinese-language web drama series “I Want To Be A Star”, which was first made available for viewing on 5 September 2016, carried an offensive remark.

In episode 6 of the series, the veteran actor Chew Chor Meng said that Indians and Africans were the same and that it would make no difference casting an Indian as an African in a TV production.

The segment also featured a Chinese male actor, acted as Chew’s son in the series, played by Chinese Singaporean actor Shane Pow, who put on “blackface” makeup and role-playing as an African.

IMDA stated that it has assessed that the segment was racially insensitive and constituted racial stereotyping that might offend certain segments of the community. IMDA notes that Mediacorp promptly removed the offensive segment from the Episode and has taken remedial action to prevent a recurrence.

IMDA also noted that Mediacorp promptly removed the offensive segment from the Episode and has taken remedial action to prevent a recurrence.

ToggleSG had earlier apologised through its official Twitter account, saying that it was sorry for the brief scene on the portrayal of an Afro-American, played by actor Shane Pow as the scene has been perceived as being racially insensitive by some viewers.

It added that the relevant scenes have been removed from the programme.

However, viewers were not satisfied with the apology, saying that it was not “perceived” to be racially insensitive. As the matter of fact, it “is” racially insensitive.

ToggleSg then wrote another apology, saying that the previous apology came out wrong.

“We’re sorry for the blackface portrayal and for the poor apology,” it wrote.

ToggleSg said that they take the race-related issue very seriously and that portrayal should not happen.