Former Reform Party member apologises for making false statements about Shanmugam, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Former Reform Party member apologises for making false statements about Shanmugam

A former Reform Party member who published false and libellous statements about Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam having an extramarital affair has apologised, and said he will bear the minister’s legal costs.

In a TikTok post on Dec 21, 2023, Mr Thaddeus Thomas admitted that “thaddeusthomas81” is his account on the social media platform, which he used to post a video that purported to contain clarifications about Mr Shanmugam, his wife and an alleged mistress.

“On Aug 17, 2023, I published false and libellous statements in relation to Mr K. Shanmugam on my TikTok account... I admit that I intended to put up these falsehoods and acknowledge that those statements are false and completely without foundation,” he said.

In the note titled Apology And Undertaking, Mr Thomas further admitted that he had intentionally ignored a letter sent by Mr Shanmugam’s lawyers to him via Facebook Messenger on Aug 25.

“I had hoped that Mr K. Shanmugam would not be able to identify or reach me, since my contact details were not identifiable from my posts,” he said. “I thus did not take down the TikTok post and did not reply to Mr K. Shanmugam’s lawyers.”

The post was later taken down by TikTok.

Mr Thomas said he replied to the lawyers’ letter on Nov 30, after reading a Straits Times article saying that Mr Shanmugam had applied for court orders against TikTok to compel the social media platform to disclose information about three users who had posted false allegations of him having an extramarital affair.

ST reported previously that Mr Shanmugam had sought to compel TikTok to disclose information about TikTok users “trusted.selller”, “thaddeusthomas81” and “tharakhussin” after these accounts were used to upload videos containing allegations of the affair between Aug 13 and Aug 17.

According to papers Mr Shanmugam filed with the State Courts, getting these users’ information would enable him to identify the potential parties he could take direct legal action against over the false statements.

On Aug 25, the minister’s lawyers wrote to two Facebook users, one named “Tharak Hussin” and the other “Thaddeus Thomas”, asking for the TikTok posts to be removed and for a written apology. No response was received.

Through his lawyers, Mr Shanmugam had also sent letters then to ask TikTok to disable end-user access to the posts as they were false and constituted “serious libel”.

In his Dec 21 statement, Mr Thomas said he had received advice and encouragement to put up his false TikTok post, and that he had “regret listening to this advice”.

“I regret my actions and apologise unreservedly for making the false and libellous statements,” he said. The statement was also published on his Facebook account.

He said Mr Shanmugam had agreed not to ask for damages “despite my scurrilous allegations”, and that he would pay the minister’s legal costs.

Mr Thomas also undertook not to publish any further statements on this matter, or to make any allegations to the same or similar effect.

While Mr Thomas’ TikTok profile stated that he is a “central executive committee member of The Reform Party Singapore”, his name was not on the list of central executive committee members on the political party’s website.