Popular YouTube channel Night Owl Cinematics puts work with Dee Kosh on hold, talents managed by him break silence

Dee Kosh's work with the Night Owl Cinematics channel mostly centred around food reviews which he hosted with Aiken Chia (left) and Ryan Tan (right). PHOTO: NIGHT OWL CINEMATICS/INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE - Popular homegrown YouTube channel Night Owl Cinematics (NOC) has put its work with Dee Kosh on hold in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against the deejay and YouTuber.

In a statement released on Wednesday (Aug 19), NOC, which has a million subscribers, said it had received a request from Dee Kosh's management "for him to be released of any professional service engagement with us".

NOC said: "We can confirm that he has no outstanding or ongoing projects with NOC at present. All further collaborations with Dee Kosh have been put on hold indefinitely."

The 32-year-old, whose real name is Darryl Ian Koshy, has been accused of soliciting nude pictures and offering money to minors in return for sexual favours, among other things. Several police reports have been filed and police investigations are ongoing.

Koshy's work with the channel mostly centred around food reviews in its Food King series, and its last published work with him was a National Day video released on Aug 9.

Koshy has also been removed from the NOC's About Us page, where he was previously listed as a Partner/ Actor/ Host.

NOC clarified that Koshy is neither a shareholder nor a business partner, adding he had been engaged on a freelance basis for its Food King programme as a third-party content collaborator.

"We had used the term 'partner' to highlight his contribution as a host on Food King, however, he was never a legal partner of the business," said the company.

It added that it had initiated a company-wide investigation involving 37 crew and 24 talents, and concluded that "Dee Kosh has not made any sexual advances towards any of its staff members".

"If Dee Kosh had indeed committed any such acts in his personal life, these were not reflected in his work with us," it said. "In the meantime, we urge everyone to give the parties involved some space and respect. Our thoughts and hearts are with all who have been hurt by these incidents."

Meanwhile, two talents under Koshy's management - who have also appeared on his YouTube channel of 380,000 followers - have released statements to address the backlash against them and clarify that their dealings with him were professional.

Local YouTuber Ben Tang, who counts Koshy as a "friend, mentor and manager", wrote in a statement on Instagram on Wednesday that he is "definitely disappointed and do not condone his actions".

Tang said he has also been on the receiving end of inappropriate comments, direct messages and insults aimed at his family and personal life.

"Now I understand that most of you are angry and frustrated... but there is no need to be unreasonable and target your hate at the rest of the talents and I," he wrote.

Photos have also been circulating of Tang and Koshy dressed as a female character called Xiaotina, in "various stages of staged intimacy". Tang clarified that the pictures were part of a "fictional narrative in an ongoing plot involving Xiaotina" and were staged, photoshopped and "not forced upon him".

He also denied getting paid for any sexual favours, and clarified that they never had a sexual relationship. "Everything has been strictly professional since we started working together five years ago."

While he does not stand by Koshy's actions, Tang said: "I hope he learns from this as I want him to do better."

Another one of the talents under Koshy's management, Hamza Zaidi, also released a statement on Wednesday clarifying that he never had sexual relations with the YouTuber. "He has never made any sexual (advances) towards me and I never slept with him to get on the channel," he wrote.

"All of the boys and I were approached by Dee Kosh on Instagram and after getting to know us, he would sign us if he felt we were a good fit for the channel. Everything work related was extremely professional."

Hamza, who said the talents have "already been deemed guilty and trashed online", went a step further to defend Koshy as "one of his closest friends" saying "he has one of the biggest hearts".

He wrote: "I cannot put into words the amount of opportunities he has given us and the amount of hard work he put into building us up. None of the boys and I deserve the amount of love he has given us. As strict as he is with us with our work, he is equally as loving in our personal lives, making sure all of us are always safe and making sure we always knew we could rely on him."

While he agreed that Koshy "had a severe lapse of judgment and made questionable decisions in his personal life which wound up in this whole mess" , he expressed his support for him, saying he will "ensure that Dee will improve and change for the better and I'll be there for him throughout everything".

Several firms that Dee Kosh previously worked with, including Huawei, Foodpanda and Lenovo, said their engagements with him had ended and there were no ongoing or future projects planned. Power 98 FM, where he hosts weekday night shows, said on Monday that he is on leave and that the station "does not tolerate any form of harassment".

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