Popular Indonesian soccer commentator Valentino Simanjuntak may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is absolutely no need to criticize him by calling him names, and he’s arguing just that as he prepares a legal battle against online bullies.
Valentino, who is pretty much synonymous with his gibberish catchphrase “Jebret!,” has been the man narrating a number of major soccer matches over the years since his rise to fame back in 2013. He’s currently a part of a lineup of commentators in the live broadcast of Menpora Cup 2021 on TV station Indosiar.
However, some might say his commentary style is over the top — peppered with yells of gibberish terms here and there — and some Indonesian soccer fans have had enough. Earlier this week, the hashtag #GerakanMuteMassal (#MassMuteMovement) was trending on social media in criticism toward Valentino.
Even Bali United, quarter-finalists in the competition, appealed on Twitter to Indosiar to “tone down the hyperbole” ahead of their match. The club later deleted the tweet.
Valentino posted a screenshot of the said tweet, saying that he respects Bali United’s opinion and wished that they didn’t remove the tweet.
— valentinosimanjuntak (@radotvalent) April 11, 2021
Speaking in a video uploaded on his YouTube channel Jebreeetmedia, Valentino said he doesn’t mind the #GerakanMuteMassal hashtag on principle. However, he did mention that he and his attorney have made note of dozens of users who mocked him with profanities, because he intends to “educate netizens” by making examples out of the offensive few.
In a series of tweets posted early this morning, Valentino demanded a soccer fan account called @SiaranBolaLive, which likened his “annoying” mouth to an anus, to tweet a public apology within 24 hours, threatening to sue them with the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE) if they don’t comply.
Info Penting Sebelum Sahur.
Kalo yg seperti ini saya serahkan ke temen2 pengacara saya, jika tidak ada respon dalam 1×24 jam maka ……(saya anggap akun anda pintar sehingga tahu maka akan apa selanjutnya ya?, tidak perlu saya sampaikan pasal2nya)
— valentinosimanjuntak (@radotvalent) April 13, 2021
“Apologies for disturbing your sahur (pre-fasting meal) time guys, I will continue tomorrow in an appropriate time. To other similar accounts, who have MOCKED not CRITICIZED me, I’ll wait for your kind intentions within 24 hours, thank you,” Valentino wrote in another tweet, which ended with him listing his academic degrees in law.
The admin of @SiaranBolaLive has tweeted a video apology admitting that they stepped over the line. None of the other netizens who allegedly mocked Valentino have publicly apologized as of this afternoon.
UU ITE may be seen as a controversial tool to silence legitimate criticism in Indonesia, but one may argue, as Valentino did, that using it to kick trolls off the figurative pitch is fair game.