October 12, 2022
JAKARTA – Singer-songwriter defends rubbing fan’s phone on his crotch.
Indonesian pop singer-songwriter Pamungkas has gone on Instagram to address the perceived sexual gesture he made with a fan’s phone at Bengkel Night Park Cafe in SCBD, Jakarta, on Oct. 6.
“I’ve been silent these past few days because I was gathering information, questions, insults and I was considering whether or not to speak up,” Pamungkas said in a series of Instagram Stories on Sunday.
The famed soloist was seen in a TikTok video rubbing a fan’s phone on his genital area during his set last Thursday. The recording went viral on other social media platforms and garnered criticism about his “indecent” behavior— with many expressing their disgust online.
“At the time it was happening, it was purely a fan service between me and my fans. A part of the performance, I would say,” he insisted, noting that the circulated video was screen-recorded and cut to provoke anger.
Pamungkas compared the kind of fan service with taking pictures with fans after a show, saying happy birthday to them on video or greeting their siblings, something he “would never say no to.”
“[That act] is the same, it’s called a fan service,” he added. “It was a form of conversation between me and my fans and at the time it happened, it was a happy experience between us, okay?”
Addressing the matter of unethical behavior, he directed the focus onto different performers on the same stage, where some of them “mimicked an act of sexual activity and then sprayed the audience, some even raised glasses of alcohol,” he stated without mentioning names.
“There was also a performer who, for a specific song, brought up female fans onstage and hugged them. Where were all your voices when that happened?” the pop star asked.
“It was a handphone, by the way. If I’m engaged in any harassment it would seem to be phone harassment. Unless I did [the act] in the parking lot, or backstage, I’m fine with it, I’ll take [the criticism],” he said.
Pamungkas also denied allegations that he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, saying he never drinks at work and has never done drugs in all his life.
Initially planning to remain silent on the situation, he revealed that—due to the media frenzy around him—his manager was rushed to the emergency room the other night suffering from shortness of breath and was diagnosed with “heavy stress.”
“I have a line in my life and it’s called ‘principle’. If you want to talk [expletive] about me out there, I’ll stay silent, like I always have done. But when it causes suffering to my people, you have to deal with me,” the singer stated. “So please put things back in their [original] context.”
Regardless, Pamungkas stated that he himself was “completely fine,” poking fun at the incident not long after on his Instagram account by posting a picture of a small mobile phone.
“It’s finally born,” he said in the caption, referring to the product of the “sexual” act he engaged in with the fan’s phone. “I will never change who I am for anybody,” he said, despite further criticism on his Instagram post.