Okletsgo podcasters' apology fails to placate their critics
Many felt their 'sorry' was insincere as they had remained defiant until President Halimah's intervention
The belated apology from the hosts of the Okletsgo podcast for their misogyny has failed to cut much ice with their critics.
Many of them felt the apology was insincere as the trio - Dzar Ismail, Dyn Norahim and Raja Razie - had come out with it only after President Halimah Yacob criticised them on Monday for objectifying women and making sexist remarks in their podcasts.
Facebook user Frances Hwee said: "It took a female president and (the Mufti) Mr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir to get you guys to apologise. I, for one, am very surprised Madam President had to do it instead of the numerous women in your lives."
Gender equality advocacy group Aware also said the podcasters should "commit to more nuanced, sensitive, trauma-informed discourse in all future content - whether or not the President is listening".
Before President Halimah's intervention, the hosts had remained defiant and refused to apologise despite an uproar on social media for comparing a woman's breasts to footballs and making sexually loaded comments.
Their actions have also caused distress among sponsors and affiliates, some of whom have distanced themselves from the podcast.
Among those affected by the backlash was Islamic organisation Nur Insan, which was dragged into the controversy.
Nur Insan runs two learning centres in Joo Chiat and Yishun conducting free religious classes for children of low-income families.
As part of this initiative, it had been collaborating with the Okletsgo hosts for about 16 months on the Non-Judgemental Ustaz podcast series.
Nur Insan said yesterday that a number of its students and their parents had reported that they were being urged by relatives and friends to withdraw from its learning centres because of their association with the podcast.
Nur Insan's president Faaris Ameer told The New Paper: "We had noticed the remarks by the hosts from the beginning before the incident blew up, and we were very concerned.
"We approached the team and gave them advice about making such remarks, and not just on air. However, we understood that we needed to give the platform time to change its format as well."
Mr Faaris added that Nur Insan, which relies mostly on charity to run its learning centres, does not condone misogyny and the objectification of women. "We felt that by staying with them and continuing our series, our presence could also be a good influence to them."
While Nur Insan managed to persuade the parents to stick with its learning centres, it was still a "deeply concerning issue", Mr Faaris said.
In a Facebook post on Monday evening, Nur Insan said: "With the collaboration on the (Non-Judgemental Ustaz) series, our intention has always been the same, to educate and share knowledge on a platform that would enable us to extend our reach to the wider community."
Since the apology, the hosts of Okletsgo seemed to have moved on and yesterday announced the release of their podcast with Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.
Some of their fans suggested that they should invite President Halimah and the Mufti to be their next guests.
A spokesman for the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) told TNP yesterday that it had received public feedback that certain Okletsgo podcasts contain disrespectful comments towards women.
She said: "IMDA notes that Okletsgo has acknowledged and apologised for its podcasts which contained comments objectifying women."
In a Facebook post on Monday, Aware condemned the actions of the podcast team and gave suggestions on further actions they could take to rectify the situation.
Among them was a podcast episode on the dangers of objectification.
In an episode earlier this month, Okletsgo featured transgender activist Sherry Sherqueshaa.
At one point, one of the hosts said on-air that he could not pay attention to what she was saying because her cleavage was too distracting.
He added: "I cannot take my eyes off your cleavage."
In response to Aware's post, Ms Sherqueshaa commented: "It didn't occur to me that being proud of my identity and expression can feed the hunger of a misogynist until this happened."