30 May – The Singaporean production company behind "Ah Boys To Men 4", mm2 Entertainment has issued their statement in response to the racism accusations.
The accusations were made against them by an Indian Singaporean actor who was asked to speak with a thick Indian accent when he auditioned for the movie.
As reported by The Straits Times, the email was sent on behalf of the movie's creative team, including director Jack Neo's J Team.
The email stated that the audition was done by the casting directors as a way to test the actor's versatility " by asking them to perform in a wide range of roles and characters, not necessarily always according to the script requirements" and went on to say that such tests would at times inspire the directors with new ideas.
The director is also aware of race sensitivity and will be more careful when dealing with such matters in the future.
This topic has been recently taking the Singaporean social media world by storm.
On 27 May, an Indian Singaporean actor, Shrey Bhargava took to Facebook to air his grievances on having to portray an exaggerated Indian character for a walk-in audition of "Ah Boys To Men 4".
In his post, Shrey stated that he left the audition feeling "disgusted" and like "a foreigner in his own country" for having to portray a racial stereotype for the sake of entertaining others.
The internet has been divided over Shrey's post.
Half of the respondents were very adamantly on Shrey's side, while the other half are outraged over how Shrey is playing the victim.
One of Shrey's supporters are singer Sezairi Sezali, who Tweeted on Sunday: "Don't be defensive when someone calls you racist, listen to what they have to say. Help."
More outspoken people, such as blogger Xiaxue took aim at Shrey and went so far as to call him "Hypocrite of the Year" in one of her many long winded rebuttals at his post for his previous comedic performances that mostly consisted of accents.
Xiaxue even went so far as to compile a video clip of all Shrey's past acts.
Maxi Lim, an actor from the "Ah Boys To Men" franchise, also commented on Shrey's post by calling him unprofessional for calling out others as racist just because he felt bad about his audition.
You can try to keep up with the saga on their respective social media pages.
"Ah Boys To Men 4" will focus on the reservist training and the Singaporean Armed Forces' Armoured Formation unit.
Filming is scheduled to begin in June and the movie will be released by the end of the year.
(Photo Source: Priscilla Liew | Singapore Polytechnic official website)