Unless you have been living under a rock, you’d read or heard about the latest bullying saga surrounding Night Owl Cinematics’ (NOC) co-founder Sylvia Chan, who was accused of mistreating her subordinates and partners over the years.
In case you are too busy to follow the tea, here’s a quick summary of what was brewing over the past weeks:
- Anonymous Instagram account @sgcickenrice came forward with text screenshots and audio recordings of Sylvia using slurs and expletives on her employees.
- Following the allegations against Sylvia, the YouTube Channel NOC released a statement to address the allegations surrounding the company and said that the accusatory social media posts are “serious breaches of the privacy laws” and out to “harm the good name” of NOC.
- On the same day NOC released their statement, the IG account @sgcickenrice was slapped with a lawyer letter, demanding the user behind the account to stop publication of all allegations, or face a legal suit.
- Two weeks after the first allegations against her, Sylvia posted a lengthy apology to her Instagram page, saying she will remove herself from the NOC’s artiste line-up.
Unfortunately for Sylvia, the tea didn’t just stop brewing there.
On 19 Oct, things took yet another turn for Sylvia as Must Share News published an exposé where former and current employees went on the record to detail the employee abuse they suffered.
A blog post titled, “#EndTheSilence: Speaking Up About NOC Sylvia’s Alleged Crimes” was also seen circulating.
Former employee spills more tea on what working in NOC was like
On 21 Oct, Sure Boh caught up with a former employee of NOC Felicia Tung, who shed more light on her experience working in NOC.
The leaked zoom video posted in the blog was a meeting that took place in August 2020, Felicia told Sure Boh. According to Felicia, Sylvia provided no constructive reaction during the team meeting where they discussed channel updates, troubleshoot issues, upcoming channel plans, and trend analytics. As such, Ryan attempted to communicate to Sylvia regarding her treatment of employees and address the issues at hand – all of which she dismissed. Seeing this as counterproductive, and out of frustration, Ryan exited the meeting.
Sylvia then made Felicia an offer of promotion to replace Ryan as the Main Lead cum Project Manager of the channel. Felicia declined the promotion.
“I didn’t accept the promotion because I value and respect Ryan and my team more than this promotion to be honest,” Felicia said.
Shortly after Felicia’s rejection of the offer, Sylvia called for a sudden “appraisal meeting.” Yet, it did not involve her superior (Ryan).
During the “appraisal meeting” that did not include Ryan, Felicia was asked a barrage of questions about the team synergies and scopes of work. Sylvia then faulted Felicia for following SOPs that were set by Sylvia herself.
Based on the unfair appraisal, Sylvia informed Felicia that she had conducted herself in an unprofessional manner. Sylvia gave Felicia “a choice” – demotion with a pay cut or resignation.
Felicia said, “She would remove everyone from my team so I would run the main channel and continue creating all the deliverables she required myself which essentially meant… more work as a “punishment” but less pay.
Hence, Felicia decided to resign instead of accepting such unfair terms.
Felicia also revealed other unfair and toxic workplace practices she experienced during her employment in NOC.
- Delayed payments of salaries and commission to NOC staff
- Felicia “personally knows” of colleagues who were withheld their pay.
- Chan would set commission rates for her staff, and then cancel them at her whims and fancy, making it “crazy” for staff to keep track of what was promised to them
- INSANE workload – and we mean insane like Felicia handling a 300-slide PowerPoint with little help. She also had to produce as many as 11 videos in a week! Siao! That’s more than 2 per day for a 5-day work week lah!
- Staff worked overnight for days, leading to fatigue and them feeling burnout
- Felicia: “I slept the least out of my life in NOC. I remember having forgone sleep for three days and “living” in the office really just churning out content non-stop.”
I don’t know about you man, but as we read all these tea spilled by the staff members, our blood boiled. HOW CAN DIS B ALLOW?! We feel so sorry for what the staff has gone through under the dictatorship.
Here’s what to do if you find yourself a victim of toxic workplace practices. Bullying is not okay, and will never be okay!
- Keep evidence of the bullying – screenshots of verbal abuse, recordings of meetings and conversations, any paper trail you can get your hands on
- Approach HR for help – Before escalating the issue, try getting your voice heard internally first. In the case of NOC, the staff really tried, and Ryan seemed to have been the “de facto” HR and person smoothing things over with Sylvia. However, if HR is unable to resolve the issue, go to the next step.
- Get legal advice – We get it. You are only a small fry and don’t understand what are the legal complications of what contracts you may have signed. How to go up against a giant and accuse the boss or company? 🙁 You may not know this but NTUC provides free legal consultations for union members. After seeking legal advice, you will be clearer about your options and next move.
- SEEK HELP and REPORT the case to TAFEP and MOM!
If you are a freelancer in the creative industry, you can join VICPA, which stands for the Visual, Audio, Creative Content Professionals Association (Singapore). As a VICPA member, you can seek mediation services when things go awry with an employer.
If you are a full-time employee in the creative industry, you can join and seek help from the Creative Media and Publishing Union (CMPU). As a CMPU member, you can seek help from your union leaders. They can help negotiate the issues with your employer first. But if the employer is CRAZY and refuses to budge, then they will help escalate the issue to TAFEP and MOM. It is not okay to suffer in silence!
TAFEP and MOM have ZERO TOLERANCE for workplace harassment and will investigate the claims! If found to be guilty, the errant employer will be duly dealt with!
- [BREAKING] NOC saga: Sure Boh catches up with former NOC producer Felicia Tung, who reveals MORE details of the toxic workplace and Sylvia’s nasty deeds - October 22, 2021
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