M'sian comedian angry at how children's photos appeared on porn site

M'sian comedian angry at how children's photos appeared on porn site
Comedian Harith Iskander
PHOTO: Astro Awani

From time to time, Malaysian comedian Harith Iskander would receive Google Alerts to inform him of online articles or posts about him.

But what he saw in his e-mail inbox on Wednesday left him shocked, disgusted and upset.

He found that his name had appeared on a pornographic website and that a photo of his then-newborn son, alongside lewd images of naked women, was featured on the site.

There was also a photo of him cradling Zander Xayne, who is now three years old, as well as photos of the children of popular Malaysian celebrities.

The celebrities include actress-singer Erra Fazira and singer Tomok. 

In a Facebook post yesterday evening, Harith, 48, said all the photos of the children have since been taken down from the site, which is believed to be based in the US.

He told The New Paper in a telephone interview yesterday: "I was shocked, angry and confused as to why anyone would put my son's photos on such a site.

"As a father, my first priority is to protect my children and that is why I got into action immediately and tried to find out as much information as I could.

"There is no real threat (to their safety), but it is still disconcerting to find photos of your children on a porn site. Your first instinct as a parent is to protect your children."

Hours after the discovery, he posted about the incident on Facebook to seek advice on what he could do, calling it "disgusting and incredibly disturbing".

Several netizens responded, with one saying that his checks indicated it was not a Malaysian website, despite the use of captions in Malay to accompany the photos.

He suspected this could be because a Malaysian had posted the photos on the site and advised Harith to contact the website to remove the images.

At press time, Harith's Facebook post about the incident had been shared about 6,000 times.

Harith sought the help of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and lodged a police report.

The funnyman, touted as Malaysia's Godfather of Stand-up Comedy, then worked closely with Erra's ex-husband, Mr Engku Emran Engku Zainal Abidin, to tackle the matter.

A photo of Erra's and Mr Engku Emran's six-year-old daughter, Engku Aleesya, had also appeared on the site.

DISGUSTED

Harith's wife, Dr Jezamine Lim, 31, told The New Paper she was rendered speechless and felt "so disgusted I vomited after that".

Dr Lim, who is pregnant with their third child, said: "I couldn't stop thinking about it. My children are my happiness, I can take anything but this... As a mother, I couldn't accept it."

The couple said it was important to raise awareness on child pornography and paedophilia in Malaysia.

"People need to be aware that it is a real, serious issue. I know people who have paedophiles in their families, but no one is open about it. Society needs to be aware," said Dr Lim.

"To think the world has come to this. When I was young, I could play at the playground with no fear. Now, I have to say I am quite fearful (for my children)."

The couple, who tied the knot in 2010 and also have a daughter named Alessandrea Jayne who will turning two soon, do not plan to stop posting photos of their children on social media or change their account settings to private.

"We can't say that we can't upload photos of our children onto social media because it's part of the modern world and we want something to show them when they grow older," said Dr Lim.

Harith refuses to "cower to the threat", saying: "We should work on tackling the bigger issue at hand.

"I don't want to entirely block my children from the big, bad world but instead focus on how to make it less of a big, bad world.

"There are too many dos and don'ts now. As a child, I grew up in a world when I could roam and explore freely and run in the streets. I would love if my children could do that too," he said.

TWO OTHER M'SIAN CELEBS TARGETED

Malaysian entertainers Erra Fazira, 41, and Tomok, 31, were also shocked to find their children's photos on the adult website.

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