Indonesian singer Via Vallen, perhaps most famous for singing the 2018 Asian Games theme song and her dangdut mega-hit “Sayang”, has been named by several media outlets as one seven celebrities who allegedly using their fame to flog illegal cosmetics on social media.
The East Java Provincial Police say they’re going to summon the seven celebrities for questioning for allegedly using Instagram to endorse beauty products, all from from a clinic in the regency of Kediri, that were not registered with the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM).
“The promotion [of the products] implied the celebrities used the beauty products themselves, whereas in actuality they did not,” East Java Police investigator Rofik Ripto Himawan told the press yesterday, as quoted by Viva.
It’s little wonder that the celebrities didn’t use the products themselves because, according to the police, they consisted of nothing more than a mixture of local and global cosmetic products repackaged with the clinic’s own label. The police also say that some of the products could be harmful for users, such as a whitening cream that contains a dangerously strong serum that could peel off layers of skin to give users a lighter skin tone.
The police have so far only announced the initials of the celebrities who allegedly endorsed the products, which are VV, NR, OR, MP, NK, DK, and a DJ with the initial B. They allegedly each received IDR7-15 million (US$480-1030) per week for endorsing products from the clinic, which itself sold an average of IDR300 million worth of cosmetics a week.
While there’s still no official confirmation that VV is Via Vallen, numerous media outlets have reported that sources close to the case have confirmed that is is her. Via Vallen herself yesterday responded to a fan’s question on Instagram about the allegation, writing, “I’m just going to enjoy this. Allah does not give trials to his followers that go beyond the capability of humans, so take it slow (relax).”
Charges against the owner of the clinic have not yet been announced and the celebrities might not even face any charges as the police acknowledged that they may have not have known that the products were illegal.
In August, Insta-celeb Awkarin sparked public outrage by promoting a “100% safe” breast enlarger and vagina tightening products — neither of which were BPOM-approved — on her Instagram. The fact that there have been no follow-up reports about her facing criminal sanctions over the irresponsible product promotion highlights the lack of control Indonesian authorities have on the spread of illegal, dangerous goods being sold online.