'Gross when bullies cry victim': Alfian Sa'at takes on Xiaxue's rant against cancel culture

PHOTO: Instagram/@xiaxue, The Straits Times

After years of being a self-proclaimed stabby provocateur, a reckoning of sorts has arrived for Wendy Cheng, the 36-year-old social media influencer better known by her moniker Xiaxue. 

Following an internet campaign that called for brands to boycott her services over various controversial comments made in the past, Cheng has fought back with a video of her own, explaining her definition of cancel culture and how she is a victim of a witch-hunt orchestrated by the “woke crowd”. 

Local playwright Alfian Sa’at, however, opined on Facebook and Instagram that the blogger should stop making it “sound bigger than it is”. 

”It’s kinda gross when bullies cry victim,” he wrote. 

The playwright went on to deconstruct Cheng’s definition of cancel culture, explaining that what’s happening to her is just backlash and boycotting due to her decision to “build a career out of pissing on the marginalised and engaging in flame wars with other personalities”. 

In the past, Cheng has shared contentious posts about Islam, Bangladeshi migrant workers, obesity and transgender people, among other topics. She has since written in a (now-private) blog post explaining the context behind her posts but she never issued an apology. 

It was during the general election period (after she posted remarks against Sengkang GRC MP-elect Raeesah Khan) that netizens started mobilising an online campaign against her, including a viral petition that garnered nearly 28,000 signatures.

A Google document containing a template message to be sent to brands and companies that have endorsed or utilised Cheng’s services was also widely spread. 

It made an impact. Brands such as Fresh, Reebonz, Brother Singapore have publicly distanced themselves from Cheng, while others such as Sunrise Experience chose to stick by her. 

https://twitter.com/mrseanfoo/status/1280697383072874504

Online video network Clicknetwork TV — the platform where Cheng hosts her popular Xiaxue’s Guide to Life series — has affirmed that they are “against racism, bigotry, and hate” as well as opinions delivered in a divisive manner. An upcoming show that was originally slated to be hosted by Cheng will now proceed with a different host. 

Clicknetwork has always supported a diversity of opinions, voices, and open debate. While we appreciate the diversity of...

Posted by Clicknetwork on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

”It’s all about brand alignment. Companies might receive tons of what you call ‘harassment’ from irate members of the public, but if they feel that there’s brand alignment they will defend their partnership with you.

"And true enough, while some companies have dropped you like a hot pink potato, others have instead rallied to your side.” analysed Alfian in his post. 

“These latter companies might probably think that there is value in courting consumers who identify with being Islamophobic, racist, xenophobic, transphobic, fatphobic, etc. That’s their call.”

View this post on Instagram

It’s kinda gross when bullies cry victim.

A post shared by Alfian Sa'at (@alfiansaat) on Jul 23, 2020 at 2:27am PDT

On her part, Cheng remains adamant, going so far as to offer five free advertisements on her Instagram account to brands that are willing to “give a F*** YOU to cancel culture”. 

ilyas@asiaone.com