Mega vlogger Nuseir Yassin, better known as Nas Daily, found himself at the centre of a social media firestorm in the Philippines earlier this month that has seen his social media following plummet by close to one million followers in the space of a week as a result.
The 29-year old Israeli, who still has over 20 million followers on Facebook after the exodus, has been accused of taking advantage of 104-year old Whang-od, the last of the Kalinga traditional tattoo artists.
Did she even know what she was signing?Mel, co-host, The Bureau Podcast
Whang-od’s grandniece, Gracia Palicas, publicly stated via her own social media pages, that Nas Daily’s Nas Academy – an online educational platform that models itself on more established platforms like Coursera and Udemy, among others – was a scam.
She accused Nas Academy of not obtaining her grandmother’s consent before the online academy posted masterclass videos of the tattoo artist revealing her rituals, tools and methods to pay-to-view subscribers for just 750 pesos (approx. US$15).
Ms Palicas has accused Nas Daily of taking advantage of the Kalinga culture for financial gain and called for people to unfollow the influencer.
Filipinos promptly reacted and within 24 hours, Nas Daily had lost 370,000 followers.
Nas Daily has publicly refuted the claim, even posting a video clip of what appears to be Whang-od signing a contract with her thumb that had been dipped in ink.
Although Nas Academy has removed the Whang-od masterclass from its website, the vlogger still maintains his academy obtained the appropriate consent.
When told about the furore in The Bureau Asia Podcast this week, co-host Melanie Casul, who is also Filipino, exclaimed: “You’re selling tradition for 750 pesos!”
“Well, this is what caused the furore over there in the Philippines,” commented host of the podcast, Matt Cowan. “The grandniece of Whang-od came out publicly and accused Nas Academy as a scam.”
To which Mel replied: “How can a 100-year old lady be on YouTube?!”
“Well, I think the issue wasn’t about being on YouTube or whatever,” Matt went on to explain, “but it was about, can someone of that age…I don’t want to sound ageist, but she’s 104 and…Nas Daily, he’s adamant that there was a contract.”
“Okay. Signed by who?” retorted Mel.
“She signed it. He then put out…when this fired up online, he put out a video showing the lady stamping a document with her thumb. She had ink on her thumb,” explained Matt.
“Did she even know what she was signing?” Mel replied. “I personally as a Filipino feel dodgy with it.”
For the full conversation and more on Vietnam’s award-winning podcast, listen below.
Words by Matthew Cowan. Follow Matt on Instagram at @mattcowansaigon
Follow Melanie Casul on Instagram at @melaniecasul
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