Amid overwhelming condemnation of SgInstaBabes’ distasteful Patreon campaign and the subsequent unearthing of dirt about the man who founded the network of “influencers,” social media accounts involved in the controversy are being shut down.
That includes the Patreon page, which could very well be deleted by Friday, according to a message being sent out to all of the campaign’s supporters. No, we swear we didn’t pledge a cent towards the shady endeavor.
The saga started last Thursday when the collective launched their Patreon page, which allowed subscribers to pledge a monthly donation to the vapid cause of basic AF content creation (that’s just our opinion). Nothing wrong with that really, except for the fact that those who were willing to pledge a thousand dollars or more a month could actually have the girls’ private companionship on-demand.
Other rewards include being a spectator at photo and video shoots, and having access to exclusive photo albums. It definitely didn’t help that some of these “social media icons” appear to be minors.
Lai Wee Kiat — the 28-year-old SgInstaBabes founder — came out to defend his Patreon campaign, issuing a statement with a warped idea of what objectifying women actually means. Then there are the claims of sexual harassment made by former under-aged members of the SgInstaBabes community.
Local “influencers” with far bigger clout than any of the SgInstaBabes models combined, such as Xiaxue and Dee Kosh, got into the fray, leaking alleged screenshots of salacious text messages sent by Lai to girls as young as 15.
As the days went by, however, the tsunami of attention and disgust over Lai’s venture seemed to have cracked him enough to lay low. As of yesterday afternoon, the SgInstaBabes Instagram account (@sginstababes) and Lai’s own Instagram account (@fabodylous) have gone dark. The Patreon page remains live, albeit with a huge portion of its posts and pictures of models taken down. And it looks like it could get shut down for good on Aug. 31.
A message sent out to supporters (which currently stands at 88 patrons) stated that there is a possibility that the campaign could continue. Although at this point in time, Lai would be wise to not go through with it.
‘Unexpected public backlash’
The part about “unexpected public backlash” might be hard to believe. After all, an alleged screenshot of a message sent by Lai to his team (leaked by Dee Kosh) detailed how the founder requested all of them with access to a credit card to subscribe to the Patreon campaign in order to keep up the appearance of demand.
“Why am I asking you all to do so? Because Singapore is a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ country. When I launch it publicly tomorrow evening, I don’t want it to show ‘0 subscribers’. Then people won’t subscribe themselves.”
According to the screenshot, Lai was even prepared for the fact that there would be “1000% be some negative feedback.”
‘Misunderstood on a national level’
Speaking to Marketing, Lai revealed that he would no longer be in charge of SgInstaBabes should its Instagram page return. He asserted that the platform will be revamped with new art direction and rules — especially stricter and higher (ahem) age limits.
But that’s the same thing he said when SgInstaBabes underwent a “major revamp” last year. He told Marketing that the previous revamp was made in a “hasty and inaccurate” manner thanks to “stresses from the public”.
Maintaining that his endeavor was made in the name of good, clean fun, he also denied that his team had anything to do with Get Juiced’s much-derided National Day video and refused the label that SgInstaBabes is an “influencer collective.” OK, so … what is it then? A digital marketing firm that happens to have petite Instagram-ready ladies on staff whose images are to be exploited for brands?
“We hope the public will understand that our intentions have been misunderstood on a national level. And hope that they will give us peace.”