Indonesian stand-up comedian Pandji Pragiwaksono’s bit comparing cats to hobos incites backlash from netizens

Indonesian stand-up comedian Pandji Pragiwaksono. Photo: Youtube/Pandji Pragiwaksono
Indonesian stand-up comedian Pandji Pragiwaksono. Photo: Youtube/Pandji Pragiwaksono

Renowned Indonesian stand-up comedian Pandji Pragiwaksono is currently embroiled in a controversy — not about his becoming a spokesperson for Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan during the latter’s campaign nor even his jokes about the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) — but because he made a joke about cats.

In a recent stand-up bit, Pandji launched into a tirade against “gembel (hobo) animals”, saying cats are one of the things he hates the most.

“There are so many animals I hate. I hate them to the core. Those animals I hate are hobo animals, those who live off our garbage. You know there are animals that beg [to us]. One of the most hobo [animals] are cats. Cats are hobos, they always annoy us whenever we’re eating,” Pandji says in the clip below, taken from a stand-up show he did in Jakarta in January but which only went viral recently.

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Cuplikan video ini kami record dari chanel youtubenya @pandji.pragiwaksono yang berjudul “PANDJI BENCI HEWAN GEMBEL”. Surat terbuka untuk Pandji Pragiwaksono Kami merasa keberatan atas pernyataan anda dalam video yang berjudul “PANDJI BENCI HEWAN GEMBEL”. Di mana anda menerangkan ketidaksukaan anda kepada kucing terlantar yang mengemis makanan sisa dari manusia. Anda ini seorang influencer dan banyak yang mengikuti sosial media anda. Pernyataan apapun akan memberikan efek bagi sekitar anda. Anda harus tahu betapa sulitnya hidup seekor kucing gembel. Tiap detik hidupnya bersinggungan dengan kematian: karena lapar, sakit, kecelakaan, atau penyiksaan. Tanpa anda bicara seperti itu saja hidup kucing liar sudah sulit, jangan ditambah lagi pernyataan anda yang benci hewan gembel sehingga memprovokasi orang lain juga untuk merasa wajar membenci hewan jalanan. Anda sebagai influencer kami harapkan justru jadi pelopor pembela hak bagi kaum yang lemah. Tak hanya manusia tapi juga binatang. Sekali lagi kami jelaskan bahwa hidup kucing menggembel dan mengemis makanan bukan berniat mengganggu anda, mereka hanya berusaha bertahan hidup! Jika ada makhluk kecil tak berdaya dan sedang berupaya untuk bertahan hidup saja kamu benci, apa itu tidak memperlihatkan seberapa besar jiwa kamu, Panji? Video anda sudah ditonton ratusan ribu orang, di mana tanggung jawabmu, Pandji jika semakin banyak orang yang membenci hewan terlantar dan merasa wajar-wajar saja membencinya. Semoga anda siap dikritik oleh para pejuang hewan gembel.

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Animal rights organization Garda Satwa Indonesia posted Pandji’s joke to their Instagram page on Friday, writing an open letter in the caption saying that Pandji is an influential figure and he should instead advocate standing up for the weak, including animals.

“You have to know how hard it is for a hobo cat to live. He’s faced with death every second: because of hunger, sickness, accident, or torture. Without you saying that, the lives of stray cats are already hard, especially when you say you hate hobo animals so it’d most likely provoke other people to feel it was reasonable to hate on stray animals as well,” the account wrote.

After the backlash on social media, Pandji released a statement on his Youtube video, the title of which has been changed from Pandji hates hobo animals to Pandji vs Ninja Gecko.

Pandji wrote in the video’s comments section that, after talking to Garda Satwa Indonesia and a cat lover friend, he decided to change the title and thumbnail of the video. He said he thought the organization wanted to state their opinion and for that, he doesn’t intend to clarify that he was joking in the stand-up routine.

“So I’ve changed the title to Pandji vs Ninja Gecko, hopefully no gecko lovers will get angry,” he wrote.


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