SINGAPORE: An artist and booth owner clarified a mix-up involving The Straits Times (ST) for using an unrelated image of their booth in an article about an announcement of Tenga’s adult toy brand at the Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2023 (AFA).
The artist, known for his drawings, addressed the situation on Facebook, emphasizing his lack of involvement in Tenga’s adult toy sales and expressing frustration over the unintended misrepresentation of his work.
Citing ST, the artist revealed in their post that the newspaper refused to issue a public/written apology and clarification for the use of the unrelated booth photo, prompting the artist to take matters into their own hands.
The artist wrote, “(ST) have refused to do a public/written apology and a clarification for using my totally unrelated booth photo to cover the news of Tenga boothing at AFASG, so I will do it myself instead.”
In his post, the artist expressed deep frustration with ST for how they have portrayed years of his hard work and reputation. He noted that he had to maintain a professional demeanor in his response, despite his inclination to take more direct action, humorously suggesting sending them a crate of Scott’s Emulsion, known for aiding brain development.
But focusing on the issue at hand, the artist asked people not to attack the journalist and editor, stating that “that would be too much and unwarranted.”
The ST digital article, initially titled “Japanese sex toy giant’s presence at anime event draws mixed reactions,” was edited and corrected by ST on November 5. However, no apology or notes of correction were made in the post.
It covered the news of Tenga’s participation in AFA Singapore 2023, set to take place at Suntec Singapore Convention Centre from November 24 to 26.
The image featured in the previously un-edited article captured the artist’s booth adorned with character drawings from various animations.
Notably, a large standee display of the character “Zhongli” from the game Genshin Impact was showcased, accompanied by a booth helper maintaining the vibrant display.
Artist and booth owner backed up by online users
Most online commentators on the artist’s Facebook post supported the artist and criticized ST for what they considered “irresponsible journalism,” suggesting a lack of proper research before using an unrelated image for the article.
One user stressed the need for media awareness, stating, “A newspaper has to be aware on how using the unrelated photo can be interpreted wrongly, which will send an incorrect message to their readers.”
Others expressed empathy for the artist’s situation, wishing for a positive resolution to restore their reputation.
Questions about the absence of a public apology from ST were also raised. However, the artist clarified that while the news company issued a phone apology to their booth partner, a public disclaimer and apology are still pending.
“I believe they have counselled the one making the mistake, but still, it does not change our dilemma of being featured in public inaccurately,” the artist added.