A Malaysian man accused of ridiculing people with disabilities on TikTok clarified today that he was actually making fun of people who pretended to be disabled in order to get parking space.
TikTok user Iswan Ishak today apologized for causing the misunderstanding in response to criticisms he filmed his friend pretending to be disabled so that Iswan could park his car at a spot designated for those with special needs. The video posted this week had featured his friend walking while distorting his facial expressions and pretending to have clawed hands and knocked knees.
“I would like to apologize for the misunderstanding caused by the video,” Iswan said to his 144,000 followers. “My friend Ajim was acting out what happens in real life — able-bodied people pretending to be disabled so they can get a parking spot.”
Iswan said that they never abused the parking space for people with disabilities, as implied by the original clip, and had parked elsewhere.
“We were just acting and did not mean to make fun of people with disabilities,” he added. The clip titled I am sorry drew sympathy from most viewers, with many accepting his apology.
Iswan deleted the offending video after it began to circulate on other social media platforms. It showed Iswan lamenting about the scarcity of parking spaces at the Mid Valley Shopping mall in the city before cutting to Ajim’s acting.
“I’m here at Mid Valley, but it’s so hard to get a parking spot. Ajim said there’s a way we can get one, but it is strange,” he said in the video.
“Ajim became disabled. If we are caught by the security guard, we’d die, but we got a parking spot!… Next time I come to KL, I’m bringing Ajim along. I hope this video doesn’t get viral,” he added.
One of those who criticized the video was Senator Ras Adiba Radzi, who represents the community of people with disabilities, also referred to by the acronym OKU.
“I would like to warn Iswan and Ajim, you guys have made fun of OKU by pretending to be OKU. Please apologize to the OKU community,” the former news presenter said on Twitter yesterday.