Joint Statement by Muslim Women Groups to OKLETSGO

[Content warning: Mentions of misogyny, sexual harassment, exploitation of sexual assault survivors, and online intimidation]

We strongly condemn the misogynist and sexist comments consistently made on-air by Dzar Ismail, Dyn Norahim, and Raja Razie, the three hosts of the OKLETSGO podcast on Spotify. They minimise their crude and offensive language, sexual harassment on-air and exploitative content as “push[ing] boundaries” and “not meant to be taken seriously”. Yet in our work, we see the tangible harmful impact that such words and ideologies have on women.

We live in a patriarchal society that consistently dehumanises and sexualises women in direct and indirect forms. The hosts illustrate this by the way they treat women’s bodies as sexual objects with overtly lewd comments. When outraged women speak out, OKLETSGO supporters partake in ‘bro’ culture by rallying in their defense and making threats of doxxing and rape. With 100,000 listeners, most of their supporters keep silent in complicity.

We are alarmed at not only the hosts’ crude and offensive comments on air, but also by the sheer numbers of men (and some women) who make criminal threats of intimidation to the women who have spoken up against them.

The hosts of OKLETSGO claim to encourage an “open-minded approach” and “sharing of experiences” by individuals from marginalised positions. However, taboo or difficult subjects must be approached and facilitated with care and responsibility. Unfortunately, we see the hosts evade calls to reassess their behaviour, language and methods. Their insincere apology is drowned by their unrepentant resharing of their fans’ support and approval on social media.

We are appalled that the hosts deny responsibility for the harmful impact of their content to the larger community. However, since they stated that they are willing to unlearn and relearn, we demand their accountability. We call on them to:

  1. Release their plan with clearly defined actionable items to unlearn their ways,
  2. Attend Gender Sensitivity training by The T Project Singapore,
  3. Attend Sexual Assault First Responder training by Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC),
  4. Make regular donations to SACC, and
  5. Remove podcasts with offensive sexist, racist, transphobic content from their Spotify list (e.g. Transgender, Sex Worker, Activist; SG Nasi Lemak; Perfect Wife, Keinginan Suami, Selamat Tinggal, and more.)

At the same time, we call on their sponsors and collaborators to withdraw future support and partnership with OKLETSGO until they have taken the above steps to change.

Culture is fluid and can change. Misogyny is not unique to or inherent in our community. There has been and there will always be resistance towards oppressive and patriarchal aspects of culture from groups like us in the form of books, literature, art and much more. We may not see immediate change, but we all play a part in creating a society where we respect each other and we hold each other accountable for the impacts of our behaviour.

A joint statement by Beyond the Hijab, Crit Talk, and Penawar.