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Parties behind 'brownface' Nets ad given stern reminder of paying attention to racial sensitivities: IMDA

SINGAPORE — The Nets advertisement that was published on epaysg.com and that sparked off a controversy about “brownface” did not breach the Internet Code of Practice but was done in poor taste and caused offence to minorities, regulators said on Wednesday (Aug 14).

Parties behind 'brownface' Nets ad given stern reminder of paying attention to racial sensitivities: IMDA

Nets’ advertisement featured Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew dressed up as four characters, including a Malay woman and an Indian man.

SINGAPORE — The Nets advertisement that was published on epaysg.com and that sparked off a controversy about “brownface” did not breach the Internet Code of Practice but was done in poor taste and caused offence to minorities, regulators said on Wednesday (Aug 14).

The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) said in a statement that it had completed an assessment of the advertisement to promote e-payments, which featured Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew dressed up as four characters, including an Indian man and a Malay woman in a headscarf. 

“While the ad did not breach the Internet Code of Practice, it was done in poor taste and had caused offence to minority communities,” the IMDA said.

“IMDA has thus issued a stern reminder to the parties involved in the ad on the importance of paying attention to racial and religious sensitivities.”

The IMDA added that it expects all advertising companies and other content producers to be similarly mindful of these sensitivities, and that it will not hesitate to take action against any content that is found to be in breach of the Codes of Practice and guidelines.

Also on Wednesday, the police said that they had received reports about the advertisement, but that the Attorney-General’s Chambers has advised that there was no criminal offence involved.

The police added that they will not be taking further action against the advertisement.

In response to the backlash against the advertisement, the parties involved in its creation, including Mr Chew, Mediacorp, creative agency Havas and Nets, have issued apologies.

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Nets brownface Dennis Chew

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