OLKETSGO, one of the most popular podcasts in Singapore has been under fire for making derogatory comments towards women in their episodes. On Monday, June 15, Singapore President Halimah Yacob also urged the channel to apologize for their "humiliating and misogynistic remarks". Following her post, the channel issued an apology.
Managed by three former DJs — Dzar Ismail, Dyn Norahim and Raja Razie — OKLETSGO has been the go-to podcast for Singaporean in recent times, topping the Spotify charts in Singapore with over 800,000 people listenings to their episodes. But in the last few episodes, their comments made on the podcasts have been heavily criticized on social media.
In a recent episode, one of the hosts remarked, "I cannot take my eyes off your cleavage," referring to a guest Sherry, a transgender activist from Project X. In another instance, a female guest was asked what was she wearing in mid-interview. They were also called out for comments such as "I love young girls," while one of the hosts joked about sexually attractive older women, saying he preferred "bums and legs."
Addressing the issue, President Yacob, on her Facebook post, said it was not alright to treat women as 'punching bags.' "Women are not objects to be made fun of, ridiculed and trampled upon, and no one has the right to do that to them. Women have the right to be respected, valued for their contributions in the family and in our society," she said.
"Taking cheap potshots at women to boost ratings or to make some people laugh no matter how offensive cannot be justified under any label, be it freedom of speech or encouraging conversations," she added.
The hosts claim that they want to portray the everyday subjects unfiltered, like a conversation between three friends. Recently, they invited mother and son duo, who were accused of using racial slurs in their Instagram posts.
"For us, it's all about telling stories about the man on the street. Our style is raw and unapologetic. I think people gravitate towards colloquial banter because it's like eavesdropping on a conversation three friends are having," said Dzar, one of the hosts, in a recent interview.
In the past, they had invited politicians including Senior Minister of State for Defence Maliki Osman and Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli besides comedian Kumar.
Despite their popularity, netizens have been critical too of their sexist remarks. One of the users wrote, "It's embarrassing to be a part of the Malay community having three men "educate" you and calling us haters."
While they addressed the criticism in their latest episode, they failed to convinve the critics. "We recognize that there has been a diversity of opinions on the issue and seen the feedback from all sides of the topic. We appreciate the constructive feedback that leaves us space to improve and grow as we have been over our short year-long journey thus far," he said.
Apology Following President's Facebook Post
However, after President Yacob's post, Dzar issued an apology. "We reflected on this more, and we are truly sorry it took us this long to realize the extent of hurt that we have caused. Thank you, Madam President and respected individuals/groups for amplifying the voices of those who have been hurting, and we take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to all our listeners who we have hurt with our words and content," he said.