Female emcee says Bali governor against women taking the stage at his events

Bali Governor Wayan Koster is enmeshed in a fresh scandal after accusations of blatant sexism surfaced in viral posts from a Balinese emcee, sparking public outrage.

In a series of Instagram stories uploaded over the weekend, Balinese emcee and TV host Putu Dessy Fridayanthi said Koster was particularly specific about prohibiting women from literally taking the stage at his events, even as an emcee. During a recent event that Koster attended, Dessy wrote that “the female MC is not allowed to go on stage, her audible voice is [considered] enough.” 

“Even standing behind the invited guests is prohibited. The room from where I was speaking, the exit was guarded by security detail from the Bali Provincial Government, so that I couldn’t leave,” Dessy added. 

She also alleged that this has become commonplace since Koster took the governor seat in 2018, as many female event workers, including emcees, dancers, and singers, found themselves canceled last-minute “because Koster was going to be in attendance and therefore women were not allowed to perform in the event.” 

“Why are female workers discriminated against like this? What’s our fault for working to provide for our family??? How many events have been canceled [for the workers] because the governor was in attendance?” Dessy said, adding that she can no longer stay silent with the “inhuman treatment.” 

Coconuts has reached out to Dessy for more comments, but have yet to receive a response at the time of publication.  

The allegations have caused quite a stir in the province, even prompting Balinese designer and politician Niluh Djelantik to start an online petition urging Koster to stop discriminating against female event workers in Bali.

Niluh also said that she has received similar complaints from others.

“Stop discriminating against female event workers in Bali. I hope they can carry out their professions safely and comfortably,” Niluh said in a message to Coconuts. 

At the time of publication, neither Koster nor the Bali Provincial Government have explicitly responded to the controversy.

Read more news and updates from Bali here

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