Property portal 99.co employee fired for insulting Singapore on Facebook over Pokemon Go game

Property portal 99.co employee fired for insulting Singapore on Facebook over Pokemon Go game
PHOTO: Facebook screengrab, 99.co website

Singapore property portal 99.co has fired an employee for making disparaging remarks about Singapore on Facebook.

The employee, Mr Sonny Truyen, had posted in a Facebook discussion thread that "you can't f***ing catch pokemon in this piece of f***ing s*** country".

Mr Truyen's remark was about the popular game Pokemon Go, which is not yet available in Singapore.

A Hardwarezone forum user took a screenshot of Mr Truyen's Facebook comment, which has since been deleted.

According to his Facebook profile, Mr Truyen is from Australia.

The company that Mr Truyen works for responded to the incident after receiving complaints over his remarks, which angered netizens.

In a blog post on Monday (July 11) titled "An apology and an appeal", Mr Darius Cheung, chief executive and founder of 99.co, revealed that the company had been alerted to Mr Truyen's comments on Facebook the day before.

Mr Cheung explained that Mr Truyen started working for 99.co just a week ago, as an SEO specialist.

He added that as a proud Singaporean company, 99.co does "not condone such language or behaviour", and that it had since sacked him.

Mr Cheung, who is Singaporean, apologised on behalf of the company, but urged his fellow Singaporeans not to attack an entire race or nationality based on an individual's actions.

"Anyone labelled a 'Foreign Talent' was heavily criticised. I am sure we all have Australian or Vietnamese friends - how would they feel if they read it?"

"We are better than that," he wrote.

Facebook users' reactions to Mr Cheung's apology were largely positive.

"Read your letter of apology relating to one of your employees... proud of your stand as a Singaporean!" wrote user Choo Jimmy.

"Darius, you did the right thing to sack someone who doesn't even respect S'poreans," posted user Vivian Quick, who said that she was a Singaporean living in Germany.

Mr Truyen admitted his comments were a lapse in judgement, when contacted by Mashable for comment.

"It was a dick move on my behalf and a very big error in judgement to negatively label an entire country over Pokemon. It was very wrong of me to rage like that," Mr Truyen told Mashable.

"However in my defence, I was racially vilified for not being a 'white' Australian. It was disappointing the lengths Singaporeans went at to attack me and deny any chance of making amends for my actions," Mashable reported him as saying.

Mr Truyen also told Mashable he hoped that netizens would leave his former employer 99.co alone as he is no longer working there.

"I've parted ways with 99.co and would appreciate it if everyone could stop the witch hunt there and leave them alone, bombarding them with threats isn't helping," he told Mashable.

Mr Truyen is not the first foreigner to lose his job over comments made on social media.

In 2014, Briton Anton Casey lost his job with wealth management firm Crossinvest Asia and left Singapore after he made disparaging remarks about public transport on social media.

In 2012, 38-year-old Australian and Singapore permanent resident Amy Cheong lost her job as an assistant director of membership at the National Trades Union Congress after posting an expletive-laden message on Facebook about Malays.

xiuhuil@sph.com.sg

More about

Purchase this article for republication.

BRANDINSIDER

SPONSORED

Most Read

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.