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Jakarta Post

Influencers apologize for supporting job creation bill after furor among followers

  • Dyaning Pangestika
    Dyaning Pangestika

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, August 16, 2020   /   08:58 am
Influencers apologize for supporting job creation bill after furor among followers Activists from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) protest the omnibus bill on job creation in front of the House of Representatives compound in Jakarta on July 9. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Three influencers on social media have apologized to their followers after facing a backlash for posting content supporting the controversial job creation bill using the hashtag #IndonesiaButuhKerja (Indonesia Needs Jobs).

Gofar Hilman, using his Twitter account @pergijauh, which has around 640,000 followers, was the first to issue a public apology after some of his followers lashed out at him. In a public statement posted on his official Twitter account, Gofar claimed that he was unaware of the intention behind the campaign, which he had joined.

“Our mistake is that we did not research the job before accepting it,” Gofar said on Twitter.

He said a video of his posted using #IndonesiaButuhKerja was not meant to support the omnibus bill on job creation, nor was it meant to offend any group of people.

Gofar is a businessman who owns a shop selling merchandise for people "who love music, tattoos and motorcycles". Many of his followers are young workers who have protested the job creation bill, which they see as a way to ease investment by relaxing regulations that uphold labor rights.

Another influencer, rising musician Ardhito Pramono, also issued a public apology through his Twitter account, stating that he did not realize that the campaign was connected to a politically charged bill. He claimed he did not want to be dragged into politics.

Before accepting the offer to join the movement, he had asked his publicist if it was related to any political campaign, to which they responded by stating that it was aimed to lift the public’s spirit during the pandemic as new jobs may be soon available.

“I was asking the question because I am only a musician, I don’t understand politics and I have no knowledge of such issues, so I refuse to be dragged into something that I am unaware of,” Ardhito said.

Many of Ardhito’s followers have vehemently protested the bill.

Read also: House to complete deliberation of controversial omnibus bill on job creation by September

Both celebrities stated that they would return the payment that they had received for participating in the campaign.

Later, another influencer, Aditya Fadillah, also known as Aditya Insomnia, apologized on Twitter. He said he got paid less than Rp 5 million (US$338) for helping publicize the campaign.

The three said they did not know who had offered them the opportunity to champion the bill, claiming the campaign document they had received did not bear the names of any marketing agencies.

Donny Gahral Adian of the presidential staff said the campaign was not an order from the government. "It was their spontaneity," he said as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Besides the three influencers, actress Gritte Agatha, presenter Fitri Tropica, actor Gading Marten and dangdut singer Inul Daratista have uploaded short videos using the hashtag #IndonesiaButuhKerja. These influencers, however, mentioned clearly that the hashtag supported the job creation bill. The influencers have hundreds of thousands of followers and some even have millions. Actress Gisella Anastasia, who endorsed the bill in her Instagram posts, for example, has over 26.7 million followers.

Many of them said their posts intended to use skits or simple explanations to inform the public of the benefits of the bill.

However, the bill’s protesters criticized the celebrities, accusing them of lacking knowledge about how it could hurt workers. Some said the influencers were willing to support the bill because they would not be affected by it given they earned money from YouTube and Instagram.

Read also: Guide to omnibus bill on job creation: 1,028 pages in 10 minutes

The omnibus bill on job creation was originally initiated by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to improve the ease of doing business in Indonesia, as well as to attract investment. Consisting of 15 chapters and 174 articles, the bill would amend 73 laws.

As of now, lawmakers are speeding up deliberation of the bill, which is slated for completion by September barring setbacks.