Netizens stand with Bintang Emon as comedian faces attack over Novel Baswedan skit

Indonesian comedian Bintang Emon. Photo: Instagram/@bintangemon
Indonesian comedian Bintang Emon. Photo: Instagram/@bintangemon

Bintang Emon, a rising comedian known for his strong satire game, is facing an onslaught of character-assassinating accusations over his takedown of the justice system — and, by extension, it seems, the government — but netizens are standing with the 24-year-old.

Bintang Emon posted a video on Instagram over the weekend, in which he channeled his distinct deadpan delivery style to criticize the fact that prosecutors only demanded a one-year sentence for the assailants of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator Novel Baswedan.

To catch you up on that explosive corruption news, in April 2017, Novel was splashed in the face with acid early one morning as he was walking home from the mosque — an attack that left him blind in one eye. It took two-and-a-half years for the police to finally arrest the two culprits — both of whom are cops as well — in a drawn out saga that many say epitomizes Indonesia’s entrenched systemic corruption.

Last week, public prosecutors in the case demanded a mere one year prison sentence for the suspects on charges of planned torture that causes severe bodily harm. The indictment actually carries a maximum seven year prison sentence, but prosecutors ruled that there was “no intention” on the suspects’ part to splash the acid on Novel’s eyes.


In his hugely viral video, Bintang Emon remarked of the sentence demand: “They say it was unintentional, but how did [the acid] splash on [Novel’s] face? We live on earth, so gravity pulls downwards. If one were to splash [acid] on the body, there’s no way it could’ve trickled up to the face. Unless Novel Baswedan was doing a handstand.”

“Now we have to look into which isn’t normal: Novel Baswedan’s way of walking or justice in this case.”

Today, Bintang Emon’s name became the top trending topic on Twitter in Indonesia after the comedian became the target of some serious but baseless accusations online. One particularly nefarious accusation going around on Twitter spreads the lie that Bintang Emon has been consuming meth in order to give him the energy to become a comedian.

Many netizens have come to Bintang Emon’s defense, saying that the character attacks against the comedian were carried out by government-supporting buzzers and bots. Bintang Emon’s video is widely seen as a thinly veiled criticism against the country’s justice system and the administration’s failure to stomp out corruption.


“Now Indonesia knows that Bintang Emon is right because he was slandered by these [buzzer] accounts, which shows that they are wrong,” fellow comedian Pandji Pragiwaksono tweeted.

Bintang Emon has yet to issue a public statement over the slanderous accusations against him. However, the comedian recently tweeted in vague terms that he, along with his sibling and his manager, have been receiving hate emails.

At the very least, Novel Baswedan himself said he found Bintang Emon’s skit extremely amusing. And the graft buster should know a thing or two about comedy by now.

Read the latest news on Coconuts Jakarta.

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