Drag queen Becca D’Bus has criticised actor-singer Tosh Zhang’s unilateral decision to withdraw from his role as this year’s Pink Dot Ambassador, following the backlash received by the latter after a string of homophobic tweets from 2010 to 2013 have resurfaced.
D’Bus took to Facebook on Sat (19 May) to brand Zhang’s decision to do so before consulting the organisers of Pink Dot as “pretty damn gross” and “really f**king unprofessional”.
He pointed out that straight allies such as Zhang can afford to pull out of such a controversy due to their apparent heterosexual privilege, and that in contrast, “it’s not generally an option for queers to just make a video one day because the national heteronormativity project was too much and we want out”.
“If that was possible, can you imagine how many of those videos would get posted? But more to the point, we literally cannot stop being the people we are. Yeah, something something privilege something,” D’Bus wrote.
D’Bus, in his commentary, also rejected the popular argument that Zhang has, since netizen Sarah Yip’s exposé of his problematic tweets, shouldered the appropriate level of responsibility in the wake of the controversy.
“How is he being responsible for the incredible expense in time, and yes, money, that it is going to take to scoop the poop on this? Being responsible would have looked like him reaching out to Pink Dot, and working with them on best next steps forward. Not hiding, not putting out some statement that kinda gets at what needed to be said, but putting it out waay too late, and then going on to say other random BS, then quitting in isolation,” he wrote.
D’Bus also supported Yip’s decision to highlight Zhang’s past tweets, as he understood that Yip’s purpose was to highlight the harm in the tweets and to subsequently urge Zhang to be accountable for said tweets, especially given that this year’s Pink Dot theme is about standing up against discrimination.
“I see a rush of gay people coming out to blame the woman who originally re-surfaced these problematic posts. Err, she specifically says in her original post that she is looking for him to account for these posts, not have him removed, but, so what if she didn’t? Really.
“Is it too much to ask that people who are chosen to be ambassadors for our causes don’t actually hate us? Or are you, as a gay person so desperate for some kind of validation that you think it’s wrong to even ask the question. I suspect I know what you would say, and I suspect I know what you’d be ashamed to admit,” he said.
D’Bus also disagreed with “repeated calls” for Zhang to reconsider his decision to step down, saying that Zhang has already demonstrated the capacity to centre himself before the LGBTQ community and that “he has no understanding of the ways his actions have real cost and impact on others”.
He stressed that Zhang should bear any ensuing expenses as a result of his abrupt decision instead of leaving the LGBTQ community in the ditch.
Pink Dot, according to D’Bus, is also partially responsible for the fiasco, as he argued that it should have exercised its due diligence prior to choosing its ambassadors, and even questioned the effectiveness of the model of ambassadors.
The majority of commenters on D’Bus’ post thanked him for providing the perspective of a person from the LGBTQ community who acknowledges and recognises the harm of Zhang’s actions in the wake of the resurfaced tweets, and for reiterating that the movement is not about shining the spotlight on straight allies merely for supporting the community, but rather about the community itself first and foremost:
One commenter questioned as to why Pink Dot was so eager to consider its “next steps” with Zhang instead of moving forward with the other three present Ambassadors:
D’Bus also took the opportunity to thank Yip for starting the discourse on Zhang’s problematic tweets:
Edited to include masculine pronouns for D’Bus.