Celebrities, Aware weigh in on claims against radio deejay

Police reports have been filed against radio deejay Dee Kosh after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced online.
Police reports have been filed against radio deejay Dee Kosh after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced online.

Several celebrities have waded into the discussion surrounding sexual harassment allegations against Dee Kosh, as the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) expressed support for those who have spoken up against the radio deejay and social media personality.

The 32-year-old, whose real name is Darryl Ian Koshy, has been accused of soliciting nude pictures and offering money to minors in return for sexual favours, among other things.

The Straits Times understands that six police reports have been filed against him so far. Investigations are on going.

Accusations of sexual harassment surfaced over the weekend against Dee Kosh, who has 380,000 followers on his YouTube channel and is known for food reviews on the Night Owl Cinematics YouTube channel. Screenshots of his chats with at least five alleged victims were posted online, leading Dee Kosh to apologise on Monday for the "questionable" tone of one of his chats with a 15-year-old boy.

The case has prompted discussions about the sexual abuse of minors - it is an offence to have sex with someone below 16 years old, even if he or she consents.

Aware asserted yesterday in a Facebook post that it is "categorically wrong to engage a minor in sexual conversation".

"In fact, in any situation that involves a clear power differential between parties - due to an age gap, fame or professional position - consent becomes grey (at best). That should be apparent to anyone, particularly an adult, with a decent grasp of consent."

Aware also commended those who have spoken up. "It is not easy, as well, to call out a powerful public figure and stand your ground in the face of gaslighting and threats of litigation," it posted.

After the allegations surfaced online last Saturday, Dee Kosh engaged a lawyer to issue a cease-and-desist letter to an alleged victim, who was the first to publicly accuse him. The alleged victim took down the posts.

Several local celebrities have also commented on the case.

Siblings Benjamin, 30, and Narelle Kheng, 26, from the band, The Sam Willows, expressed solidarity with the alleged victims on their Instagram stories on Tuesday.

 
 

Benjamin Kheng noted that it took an "incredible amount of courage" for survivors of sexual offences to speak up. Acknowledging that Dee Kosh is his friend, he added: "I pray that the truth will surface in full, and that he'll understand the gravity of his actions. I want him to do better."

Singer Nathan Hartono, 29, who has had Dee Kosh on his weekly Good Hang podcast twice before, announced on Instagram yesterday that he would be discussing "everything that's going on with Dee Kosh" in a podcast today.

Earlier this week, Hartono posted an Instagram story sharing Dee Kosh's apology. In response to a comment that Hartono had "zero spine", he wrote: "I choose to withhold any opinion until I understand the full story."

Hartono added: "Should I personally feel like he is wrong, after finding out the whole truth, I will be there for him on the path towards healing and improvement. Because that's what friends do for each other."

Meanwhile, comedian and YouTube personality Hirzi Zulkiflie, 31, apologised yesterday on Facebook for how he and Dee Kosh had mocked social influencer Nicole Choo in two of their videos in 2018, after the then 19-year-old published a poetry collection titled Nineteen.

The apology came after Ms Eliza Teoh of Bubbly Books, which published Choo's book, called them out on Facebook on Tuesday, for the "sexist nature of their comments" against Choo and the way "they incited hatred towards her".

Ms Teoh revealed that Choo went overseas for a few months to stay with a friend "because it came to a point where she was physically afraid" of trolls.

In his apology post, Hirzi admitted that his actions amounted to cyber bullying and that Choo "did not just face the careless brunt of our hurtful remarks, but our followers were enabled by our actions".

When contacted, three firms that Dee Kosh previously worked with, Huawei, Foodpanda and Lenovo, said their engagements with him had ended and there were no ongoing or future projects planned.

On Monday, Power 98 FM, where he hosts weekday night shows, said he was on leave and that the station "does not tolerate any form of harassment".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2020, with the headline 'Celebrities, Aware weigh in on claims against radio deejay'. Print Edition | Subscribe