Founder of Nas Daily Nuseir Yassin has released a new video on Monday (9 August) to clarify his side of the story in regards to the recent allegations made against him by founder of The Cacao Project and Forbes listee, Louise Mabulo.

Earlier on 4 August, Ms Mabulo took to Facebook to share her negative experience with the content creator and his company back in 2019, which she said he mocked the local people and only cared about creating clickable content.

She also called him out for being “exploitative” and fuelling a “neo-colonialist narrative”.

In response to this, Mr Nuseir released a video on the Nas Daily Tagalog Facebook page on Monday in which he called her Cacao Project a “fake story”.

“Every time we make a video, there is a chance that it is fake. So we have to do research. We go to the internet. We check things on the ground. We talk to the people again and again to verify. And one day, unfortunately we stumbled upon a fake story in the Philippines – which is the Cacao Project,” he said.

He added, “On paper, it was supposed to be a non-profit that helps farmers. In reality, it’s a for-profit that exploits farmers. We said, we cannot do this video in good conscience. We cannot show you things that we are not confident of.”

In fact, the popular vlogger stressed that every persons who were part of the trip to Ms Mabulo’s plantations in 2019 agree that her story “may not be real”, sharing screenshots of their comments in the video.

“We refused to make that episode even if it would go viral, and that decision pissed off a lot of people,” he added.

In the video, Mr Nuseir also denied other allegations made by Ms Mabulo, which include he didn’t eat Filipino food, he insulted Filipino farmers and he made fun of their accents.

Earlier on 5 August, the vlogger made a Facebook post denying allegations made by Ms Mabulo, and even hit back at her for sharing “falsehoods”.

He claimed that he flew in from Singapore to the Philippines just to support her, adding that he wanted to “go the extra mile” to cover the story of how Ms Mabulo had “revolutionised the cacao industry in [her] province”.

However, Mr Nssier said he was sad and surprised to find out that her story was “not true” on the ground.

“Once we arrived at your plantation, once we saw the village and talked to the farmers, we came to the conclusion that there is no story here,” he said, adding that “the awards on the Internet are just that…awards”.

In his version of events, Mr Nusier said: “Our investigation has made it clear that your story in the media is false. And that there are no ‘200 farmers’ that you work with, and there are no Cacao plantations that you don’t personally profit from.”

He then alleged that The Cacao Project “is a family business” that Ms Mabulo profited from.

Permission gotten from family of Filipino tattooist Apo Whang-od Ogga

In Monday’s video, Mr Nusier also spoke about another controversy involving his alleged exploitation of revered Filipino tattooist Apo Whang-od Ogga.

The vlogger was accused of “exploiting” the 104-year-old Whang-od by offering a traditional tattooing course by the iconic artist.

It appeared that Nas Academy, a learning platform set up by Mr Nusier, created a course in which the “104-year-old legend will reveal all her rituals, tools and methods for making traditional tattoos”.

However, last week the tattooist’s grandniece took to Facebook to denounce the course.

“WARNING!!! Whang Od Academy is a scam. My grandmother did not sign any contract with @NasDaily to do any academy. Some people are taking advantage of our culture. PLEASE HELP US STOP this disrespect to the legacy of Apo Whang Od and the Butbot Tribe,” Gracia Palicas wrote.

In response to this, Mr Nusier said in the video that he had worked with the Whang-od’s “family directly” and have gotten their consent.

“In everything we do, we get permission. We worked with the family directly and got their consent. We made sure to support them during these difficult time. We did all of this as an act of support, not an act of expoitation!” he said.

He added, “I am angry and you are angry, and we hear each other. That’s why we paused Nas Academy for now to work with National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) to make sure everything is legal and everything is okay because we care!”

“We are working with lawyers to set the records straight and let the truth come out.”

After Nas Academy announced on 8 August that it will pause operations in the Philippines following the issue with Whang-od Academy, Filipino personality Catriona Gray Academy revealed that it will stop accepting new applicants for Nas Academy until this controversy is resolved.

Her talent management Cornerstone Entertainment made the announcement on Sunday (9 August).

“Cornerstone Entertainment, Catriona Gray and Nas Academy have agreed to stop accepting new applicants for the Catriona Gray Academy until the issue of ‘Whang-Od’ has been fully resolved,” the statement read.

“Cornerstone will continue to monitor the progress of this incident,” the statement further said.

Catriona Gray is one of the many Filipino personalities who were tapped to become teachers for the Nas Academy.

 

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