Singapore Police Force calls in local actor for investigations after police reports were lodged against him over viral Facebook post on audition experience for a local film, Ah Boys To Men 4 (ABTM4).
Freelance actor Shrey Bhargava confirmed with TOC that he was called up by the police from Tanglin Police Station for questioning over police reports lodged but was not told on who made the reports and on what matter.
He said: “Yes, I was called by the (police) for questioning. I was informed there that there were police reports made. I was not informed for what or by whom, that was kept confidential.”
However, he noted that the Investigation Officer who was carrying the interview was friendly and heard him out and understood his point of view.
He said, “It was determined that my intentions were not in anyway to incite racial tension or racial violence.”
He also shared that the IO was concerned about his safety after he showed evidence of hate messages, abusive comments and racist remarks that were sent to him.
Shrey noted, “Technically I can file reports against those who personally attacked and abused me” and that the police had asked if he wanted to. But he declined because he prefers forgiveness over hate.
“All I want is a productive discussion.” said Shrey.
He was advised to contact the police if threats are to worsen.
Shrey shared that there was agreement with the police that he is against racial violence of any sort and, instead, was only seeking a healthy and productive discussion for the betterment of Singapore’s media landscape and society.
He said, “Specifically, I wanted Singaporeans to engage in dialogue regarding the inclusion of minorities in the media, as well as to tackle the issue of casual racism in order to create a more inclusive and harmonious Singapore.” and was asked not to worry about anything as he had done nothing wrong.
However, he was advised to be cautious about what he post online as people may misinterpret his meaning and intentions to his detriment, which Shrey said that he would keep this in mind for the future.
Shrey shared that he did not expect the post to go viral and the kind of response that he got from the public when he posted about his audition experience.
In his post that was posted on Saturday, Shrey noted that he was asked to perform a role in the audition and put on an Indian accent for the character that he is role-playing. He shared that he did what he was told to do and felt horrible after the audition.
He wrote in his post,
“I left the room feeling disgusted. That I was seen by my country as nothing more than the color of my skin and the way they think I ought to speak. Most Singaporean Indians I know do not speak with a full blown Indian accent, so I don’t see why, a film, part of a franchise now known to be inseparably part of our national culture, needs to have an Indian character only if he is a stereotype.
I don’t know if I’ll be cast or not. And right now, that’s besides the point. I hope that whoever they cast will choose to stick to the natural Singaporean accent they have (which may lean towards Indian but doesn’t have to be full blown) instead of adopt a fake one just to feed the racist humor our country thrives on.”