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Remember when we weren’t quite sure what social media influencers were? Was being an influencer even a job? 

Coconuts Singapore landed around the same time the internet saw a surge in these celebrity-wannabes. This group was gradually conquering our screens with promo codes, cookie-cutter Instagram poses, and click-bait videos. On the side, they were slowly ruining their own reputation through all kinds of antics including sending lewd messages, pulling off cringe-worthy Caucasian accents, and appropriating other people’s cultures. These days, the word “influencer” has become so nasty that some of them have evolved into calling themselves content or digital creators instead. 

Here’s a look back at the top 10 influencer dramas that rocked the internet in the past decade. 

1. Everything you need to know about the Eden Ang sexual harassment scandal (2018)

Photo: Eden Ang / Facebook
Photo: Eden Ang / Facebook

This YouTuber, actor, and influencer was dragged into the spotlight in 2018 over sexual abuse allegations and lewd online messages sent to young women. He publicly acknowledged those accusations, including that he had spanked a woman and texted her to call him “daddy.” But Ang never really admitted to any of them. 

We’ve also heard nothing from the police since he reportedly went to the police about the matter. All we know is that he hasn’t been active in the limelight – not on YouTube or on TV. 

2. Singaporean bloggers claim foul over missing $1k in Bali villa; but manager says they were difficult (2015)

Bloggers

Before the word “influencer” became a thing, they were mostly called “bloggers,” and that title was still relevant up until the mid-2010s. In 2015, three Singaporean bloggers waged an online boycott against a villa they had stayed in Bali, where they claimed that their money had been stolen. The women were up in arms over their holiday accommodation, even telling everyone online not to go there. But they didn’t seem like the victims they were cracked out to be when a villa staff shot back with her own version of what happened, complete with receipts. 

3. ‘Influencer’ collective SgInstaBabes launch questionable Patreon campaign for exclusive access to them (2018)

Photo: Video screengrab
Photo: Video screengrab

There’s a simpler word for someone who tries to profit off pretty, young women – a pimp. That was all we could think of when the people behind influencer agency SGInstababes tried to sell subscriptions for access to photos of its female “influencers” and a chance to go out with them. Despite all that criticism, they stuck with their Patreon page, which we’re happy to note has been removed.  

4. This social media marketing platform’s ad is everything wrong with today’s influencer-obsessed generation (2017)

Photo: Video screengrab
Photo: Video screengrab

First, there were influencers and then there were micro-influencers, referring to celebrity-wannabes who have a smaller following of maybe a few thousand. Faves Asia, a marketing agency focusing on micro-influencers, had a very embarrassing moment in 2017 when it posted a reenactment video of regular girls being tempted by the fabulous and luxurious life of an “influencer.” The video is still available online, as well as its parodies. 

5. YouTube channel Night Owl Cinematics gets righteously called out for casual racism in its videos (2017)

Photo: Video screengrab
Photo: Video screengrab

With the rise of influencers, it was only a matter of time that some of their racist attitudes went on display. Popular YouTube channel Night Owl Cinematics became the target of criticism after they gathered a group of female talents to challenge each other on Coachella-style makeup on camera. The Indian community became was at the receiving end of a casually racist remark after one of the women associated “looking like shit” with “attending Deepavali.” 

6. Clicknetwork TV drops ‘divisive’ Xiaxue over racist tweets (2020)

Cheng speaks out about the so-called cancel culture in her latest video. Photo: Xiaxue/Instagram
Cheng speaks out about the so-called cancel culture in her latest video. Photo: Xiaxue/Instagram

She’s Singapore’s “OG” influencer, she says, so of course, we had to include her in this list. The past decade saw the rise and fall of Wendy Cheng, aka XiaXue. This blogger and social media influencer made a name for herself over her no-holds-barred views. Then some of them, particularly her racist views, came back to haunt her, prompting a police investigation and her long-time collaborator to drop her from a job. 

7. Accused Orchard Towers killer Natalie Siow is amassing an online fan base of besotted fanboys (2019)

Natalie Siow in an undated photo. Photo: Natalie Siow/Facebook
Natalie Siow in an undated photo. Photo: Natalie Siow/Facebook

Natalie Siow was the influencer we never knew could happen. She amassed a fanbase online after being charged with the murder of a man at Orchard Towers. Her charge was later brought down to assault and she spent some months behind bars. Today, she has nearly 14,000 followers on Instagram. 

8. Influencer gets ripped apart by netizens for cringeworthy accent in makeup ad (2017)

Isabel

Singaporeans going to the west for a few weeks and coming back with an accent is an actual phenomenon – as bizarre as that may seem. Each time we see that happen among our friends, we can’t help but cringe and laugh. So the reactions towards Isabel Tan’s accent while she does makeup didn’t come as a surprise for all of us. Poor Rimmel.

9. DJ Jade Rasif rants about COVID-infected maid’s premature release from quarantine (2021)

Screengrabs from Jade Rasif’s storytime posts yesterday. Photos: Jade Rasif/Instagram
Screengrabs from Jade Rasif’s storytime posts yesterday. Photos: Jade Rasif/Instagram

Jade Rasif ended at odds with the Manpower Ministry over the story about her COVID scare, which was honestly entertaining to watch. She stuck to her guns after the ministry claimed her personal account was inaccurate, only to apologize for saying that afterward. 

10. Dee Kosh offered me $1,000 to go to his home, teen accuser says (2020)

Dee Kosh in a 2019 promotional photo. Image: Dee Kosh/Facebook
Dee Kosh in a 2019 promotional photo. Image: Dee Kosh/Facebook

We thought it would be fit to round up this list with Dee Kosh, the radio DJ and social media influencer who tried to take down Eden Ang amid his scandal. Dee Kosh recently became the star of his own scandal after minors came out to accuse him of soliciting sexual favors in exchange for big bucks. He has since been charged in court for his offenses. 

Other stories:
Coconuts Bangkok’s Greatest Hits 2011-2021

The 10 Coconuttiest moments in the history of Coconuts Manila

This article, Coconuts Singapore looks back at 10 influencer dramas that rocked the city, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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