Indonesia has some of the world’s strictest anti-pornography laws and it seems like there’s a high-profile sex tape scandal every few months that causes the police to relentlessly pursue and prosecute the people involved (with a zeal they rarely seem to apply to other types of investigations).
Despite that, the amount of home-grown porn in Indonesia continues to grow as social media and platforms like OnlyFans only make it easier to share and profit from such content.
Some Indonesian adult content creators have been able to get away with it by keeping their content behind paywalls or carefully concealing their identities. But a fresh sex tape scandal involving a masked lady in a kebaya merah (red kebaya) illustrates why going incognito can’t always save you from the country’s puritanical police.
The red kebaya
Over the past week, a scripted amateur video featuring a man and a woman circulated widely online, becoming the latest sex tape scandal in Indonesia.
The pair, who each wore a party mask in the video, role-played a scenario in which she, a hotel employee wearing the red traditional intricate lace kebaya top, enters a hotel room occupied by the male actor to bring him an ashtray.
The man walks out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist. After he offered her money, sexual shenanigans ensue.
The interest the sex tape generated online — the term “kebaya merah” was among Twitter’s top trending topics for several days — prompted law enforcement to launch a very thorough investigation to find the pair.
Initially thought to be recorded in Bali, police in Surabaya stepped in after determining that the video was taken at a hotel room in the East Java capital thanks to the room’s wallpaper and road signs visible from the window.
After identifying the specific room where the sexual encounter took place, police said on Monday morning that they have arrested the pair in the video. They may each face up to six years in prison each for posting immoral content online, as outlined in the controversial Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE).
Adding insult to injury, the man and the woman – the latter especially – have been victims of doxxing and slut-shaming online by those who disapprove of their actions.
Bali’s post-purification car romp
Bali may be more sexually liberal than most of Indonesia, yet there was a great deal of outrage when a sex tape taken inside a car featuring a couple in the island’s traditional clothing went viral in September.
Police identified and arrested the pair within days. The suspects were identified as MM, a 28-year-old man from Denpasar, and DNL, a 26-year-old woman who is originally from Bogor but lives in Depok, West Java.
Adding irony to an already scandalous case, the pair said they filmed themselves having sex in the car while they were on their way home from melukat (purification ritual) at a temple in Gianyar.
MM and DNL are currently facing trial for uploading pornography, which could see them imprisoned for up to six years each.
Fame is a double-edged sword
Pornography being illegal in Indonesia hasn’t stopped adult content creators from the country from posting on OnlyFans and other similar platforms. While many are careful not to reveal their identity, a woman who goes by the handle Gresaids concealed nothing in her hardcore OnlyFans videos.
This made Gresaids a hit among Indonesian porn consumers, who rarely come across unadulterated local NSFW content. Yet it was her guest appearance on Deddy Corbuzier’s podcast (which is one of the most popular in Indonesia and has many similarities to Joe Rogan’s) that really propelled her to fame — and into the police’s crosshairs.
Police also questioned DRZ, the male actor who frequently appeared in Gresaid’s OnlyFans videos. He claimed that Gresaids promised the sex tapes were only intended for her personal use and had no knowledge that they were uploaded to OnlyFans.
The three Es
Siskaeee E Nya Tiga (Siskaeee with the three Es) is arguably Indonesia’s most popular adult content creator in the OnlyFans era. Known for her exhibitionist videos taken in Indonesia and abroad, Siskaeee also notably produced sex tapes featuring seemingly oblivious men, such as a room service attendant and a motorcycle taxi driver, succumbing to her advances.
Siskaeee slipped under the authorities’ radar for much of her career until an exhibitionist video she posted on OnlyFans, taken at Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA), was shared outside of the platform and went viral.
The adult content creator was arrested in December 2021 and sentenced to 10 months in prison and fined IDR250 million (US$15,935) in lieu of an additional three months in prison in April 2022. She was released on parole the following July after having paid her fine.
Recently, Siskaeee launched a YouTube channel featuring more SFW content, albeit with adult undertones. Her first and only post so far has been a cooking video and a Q&A with the star.
The incriminating check-in
Police in West Java were disgusted and appalled when a couple, who regularly posted their sex tapes with their identities concealed on Pornhub, were found to have shot one of their tapes in a hotel in Bogor. Authorities said they would even give the case “special attention” in order to catch the couple.
A key clue that led to the police eventually discovering the couple’s identities was a hotel sign that was visible when the couple checked into their room in one of their videos. Following their arrest, the couple said they posted their sex tapes online for money.
The couple was eventually sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in July 2021.
Will Indonesia’s pornography producers keep taking these risks?
The adult content creators above are by no means the only victims of Indonesia’s draconian anti-pornography law. Some were people who simply had their private sex tapes leaked, such as the infamous case of rockstar Ariel and the more recent charges filed against singer Gisel, proving that the law can be dangerously and indiscriminately ambiguous in its enforcement.
Yet despite the obvious risks to producing adult content, whether for private or public consumption, it seems likely the porn producers of Indonesia will persist. Whether their motivations are profit or kink, or both, there’s never been a time of greater opportunity for people willing to bare it all in front of a camera.
The real question is whether conservative Indonesian law and society will ever accept that pornography is inevitable in the modern world and start treating its citizens as adults who don’t need to be protected from the sight of other people having sex, or whether the cat-and-mouse game between covert adult content creators and the cops will continue.