Content warning: This post contains discussion of sexual harassment.
Singaporean artists have responded to allegations of sexual harassment made over the weekend against radio DJ and YouTube personality Dee Kosh, who is now the subject of a police investigation.
A number of young men alleged in social media posts that Dee Kosh – real name Darryl Ian Koshy – had solicited sex from them in exchanges over various social media platforms. Two of the men in question were 17 and another was 15 at the time. The accusers also shared screenshots and videos which they claim depicted conversations in which Koshy propositioned them for sex, with some even being offered payment.
In Singapore, the legal age to have sex is 16, but those aged 17 and 18 are also legally protected from exploitative relationships.
Koshy initially denied the allegations in a post on his Instagram Stories on August 15. On Monday (August 17), one individual who had made allegations against him on social media shared screenshots of a cease-and-desist letter sent by a law firm that Koshy hired.
Later that same day, Koshy backtracked on his earlier statement, saying there “is truth to some of the things which are being said now”. He added: “I am sorry to the people I have hurt in the process.”
Koshy is now being investigated by the police after several reports were made, The Straits Times reported. On August 17, his employer, the local radio station POWER 98, also announced that he had been suspended. “POWER 98 does not tolerate any form of harassment. Dee Kosh is currently on leave,” it said in a statement, per Today.
A number of Singaporean artists and celebrities, some of whom are known to be friends with Koshy, have responded to the scandal.
In a written message on his Instagram Story yesterday (August 18), Benjamin Kheng of pop group The Sam Willows did not explicitly name Koshy, but wrote, “Yes, he’s a friend of mine, and I’m very disappointed. I do not condone his actions; a crime is a crime. 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.”
Kheng opened and closed the message with a statement of solidarity with victims of sexual harassment. “It takes incredible amount of courage for survivors and victims of sexual harassment / abuse / trauma to speak to their experiences, be it a passing comment or something that ruptures them mentally & physically,” it began. “I know that feeling. My heart goes out to anyone in that position who can’t yet find a safe space to speak about it… and sending my love to everyone who’s boldly spoken up for change.”
Kheng ended the story by encouraging victims of sexual harassment or abuse to access gender justice organisation Aware Singapore’s Sexual Assault Care Centre.
Benjamin Kheng has unfollowed Dee kosh. This is Benjamin’s statement. pic.twitter.com/bw4GoIBHc8
— deekoshmustbestopped (@deekoshmustbes1) August 18, 2020
Benjamin’s sister and Sam Willows bandmate Narelle Kheng also posted a message dated August 18 on her Instagram Stories, reflecting on the trauma that Koshy’s accusers would have had to endure.
“Imbalance of power is what allows for abuse… If empathy over anger is something you’d rather extend then extend it to the more vulnerable,” it partly read (per Hype Malaysia).
The singer Nathan Hartono – who has had Koshy as a guest on his Good Hang podcast twice in the past – also addressed the allegations in a reply to a commenter on Instagram.
“I choose to withhold any opinion until I understand the full story. I don’t have the full story. Neither does everybody who’s choosing to sling shit around instead of waiting for the truth,” he wrote. “It’s not that I don’t believe the accusers, I just don’t know enough to give a fair and informed response.”
Hartono added that he had been a friend of Koshy’s “for years”. “Last I checked, friends don’t abandon each other when they are at their weakest… 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,” he wrote. Read it below:
Hartono has since discussed the allegations against Koshy on the latest episode of the Good Hang podcast, which was released earlier today (August 19). Hear it below:
Other Singaporean celebrities who have responded to the allegations against Dee Kosh include comedian Hirzi Zukiflie, who was a friend of the DJ’s, as well as YouTuber and occasional rapper Preetipls. She opted not to discuss the allegations, but spoke about a 2018 incident which kicked off a feud between Koshy and Preetipls as well as her brother, the rapper Subhas.
“You are a bully and now we’re learning that you’re allegedly a sexual predator too,” she wrote in the post, made August 19. Preetipls also encouraged victims of sexual harassment in need of legal resources to reach out to her, as “I do have legal contacts who have offered to help the victims in this situation”.