Okletsgo issues apology after President Halimah Yacob tells them off for ‘misogynistic’ remarks

At left, President Halimah Yacob in a 2018 photo, the podcast hosts at right. Images: Halimah Yacob/Facebook, Okletsgo/Facebook
At left, President Halimah Yacob in a 2018 photo, the podcast hosts at right. Images: Halimah Yacob/Facebook, Okletsgo/Facebook

The Okletsgo podcast hosts have issued a public apology in response to backlash over its use of crude language, hours after Singapore President Halimah Yacob called on them to do so. 

Singapore president orders podcast hosts to apologize to women

Its latest online statement – and third response to the backlash – was directed at listeners who have been hurt by offensive comments they had made against women. It was posted hours after President Halimah asked them this morning to “humbly apologise to all women for their offensive, humiliating and misogynistic remarks.”

 

“We reflected on this more, and we are truly sorry it took us this long to realize the extent of hurt that we have caused. Thank you, Madam President and respected individuals/groups for amplifying the voices of those who have been hurting, and we take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to all our listeners who we have hurt with our words and content,” the statement read.

The hosts – Dyn Norahim, Dzar Ismail, and Raja Razie – claimed that such behavior had been normalized in the media industry. They went on to say that they do not “condone” misogyny and would tweak the “approach” to their content. 

“We must admit that it is an ongoing process for us to fully learn what went wrong. We came from an industry that has peddled in these norms for a very long time, both on and off screen. This episode is a chance for us to unlearn some of what has been normalized around us, and truly take steps towards positive change,” the statement said. 

“We want to make clear that we do not condone misogyny in any way … We apologize for the objectification of women and will be more careful in the way we portray matters moving forward,” it added. 

“We will reflect and tweak our approach to not cause offence to any particular group within and beyond our community.”

The podcast was accused of using crude, demeaning, and sexualizing comments towards women. 

They had responded to the backlash on Saturday acknowledging the feedback and responded again on Spotify this morning, defending themselves by saying that the show’s “out of the ordinary” language was part of their “flavor” and echoed the language spoken in the Malay community. 

Since the podcast launched early last year, it has since put out hundreds of episodes with guests such as Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam and the popular drag queen-comedian Kumar. Some episodes have been sponsored by organizations and companies including the Council for the Development of Singapore Malay/Muslim Community, better known as Mendaki.

Among the shows that have been called out was an interview with a transgender sex worker in which one of the hosts said “I’m not even sure whether she is wearing a bra or not” while describing her to listeners. 

Other stories you should check out:
Singapore president orders podcast hosts to apologize to women
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Singapore Poly probes student accused of rape over Twitter

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