Sun, Aug 28, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Universiade might replace group over video backlash

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The members of local hip-hop trio Jiu Yi Yi are joined by the Universiade 2017 mascot as they hold up signs promoting the games in an undated photo.

Photo provided by Ainoko Production Inc

The Taipei Universiade Organizing Committee might replace local hip-hop trio Jiu Yi Yi (玖壹壹) as the spokespersons for the sporting event, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday, after the group sparked backlashes at home and overseas over a music video that has been criticized as offensive toward several religions.

Ko made the remark in response to media queries over whether the city government would dismiss the group, who agreed to be the face of the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade for free.

Ko initially said the committee had not made any plans to replace Jiu Yi Yi, adding: “If something went wrong, just correct it.”

When asked how the city would cope with the negative feedback the group has triggered in Malaysia, Ko said the committee would consider replacing the group.

“We will have more discussions about this matter. I do not think knee-jerk reactions are necessary,” he added.

In a recently released music video for a song titled Oh My God, the three Jiu Yi Yi members are seen dressed up as the Prophet Mohammed, Buddhist monk Xuanzang (玄奘) and a Taoist monk.

Malaysian rapper Namewee, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee (黃明志), and who is a collaborator of the group, wrote the song and portrayed Jesus Christ in the video.

In the video, “Mohammed” swaggers about several locations in Malaysia, including a mosque, carrying a rifle.

The four dressed as religious figures later indulge themselves with alcohol and a game of poker, during which they have an argument, prompting “Mohammed” to point his rifle at the others.

The video triggered an outpouring of online criticism almost immediately after its release, with many netizens calling the group “ignorant.”

Citing the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris last year, Christopher Hall said in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel Dream Lucid that the video could irritate religious extremists and make Taiwan a target of terrorist attacks.

The video has also drawn fire from Malaysian authorities.

Malaysian police on Sunday last week remanded Namewee into custody for questioning over his “intent to insult a religion.”

Jiu Yi Yi, which in Chinese means “911,” posted a video on Facebook in response to the controversy, saying they were approached by Wee to collaborate on the song, adding that the creative direction of the video and song’s lyrics were Wee’s alone.

The song’s message is about four religions living together in peace, the group said.

However, the group did not apologize for stirring up controversy, as many people had demanded, saying that netizens who criticized them had no knowledge of what had occurred and that the negative feedback only made them more determined to continue writing new songs.

The group has created a song for the Universiade, which they performed in front of Taipei City Hall last week to promote the event.

Jiu Yi Yi was nominated for best singing group at this year’s Golden Melody Awards.

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