In an almost two-hour video interview with Singaporean blogger Xiaxue, Singaporean YouTube channel Night Owl Cinematics (NOC) co-founder and chief executive Sylvia Chan clarified the multiple allegations made against her previously.
The whole NOC saga has been ongoing for more than three weeks, since 30 September. Starting with anonymous accusations on Instagram and TikTok, further allegations about Sylvia’s abusive behaviour were brought to light in an anonymous blog page, claimed to be written by current and former employees of NOC.
Chan revealed that she has been “struggling to keep the company afloat”, with the company losing S$250,000 worth of brand deals within the first week of the scandal.
“If you really are fighting and you care for the people, you would know the company has lost this amount of money, and you know our payroll is how much. We have 40 over people. Where do I get money to fund these people’s salaries in the middle of the situation now?” Chan said exasperatedly.
She added, “I know they paint me as everybody has left, but there are still 30 over people left in the company now, who are still doing their job, trying to tank through this sh*t together with me. People say, ‘Why don’t these people speak up?’ Who dares to speak up? I am the sh*t of Singapore now. Nobody is going to associate with me. I’d even tell you, you dare to do this interview with me, you go to sh*t, you know, Xiaxue.”
Regarding allegations about making her employees work till the wee hours, Chan answered indirectly about how the media industry has flexible work timing, and that there are “crunch time” and less busy periods. She also felt that it was unfair to blame her as it was her job to ensure deadlines were met. Chan claimed that the allegations are a “one-sided way to look at the industry”, making it “seem like the whole year is like this.”
In addition, she explained that she had to play the role of a "bad cop” in the company, “I’ve turned into this whole terrible person that I don’t want to be, I never want to be. But I don’t know why I became that person.”
Chan, who is now in therapy, admitted that she may be “crass” and “vulgar”, but “have never been so angry and so hateful.” She said that she felt the need to become the bad cop to protect many things, including the business and her ex-husband and NOC co-founder Ryan Tan.
The day Chan wrote the apology letter was also claimed to be the “hardest day of [her] life,” as she said she had to look back at the person she couldn’t even recognise, and was “very ashamed of”. She added that she had “tried so hard to stop being that person”, and “want[ed] a chance to move on”, but she kept “getting dragged back”.
Chan also denied having cheated on Tan, saying that she was born in a traditional family, and her mum has always preached not to do “this kind of thing”. In fact, she claimed that she has never cheated on him in their 10 years of marriage. Her relationship with a new guy allegedly occurred when Chan and Tan were legally separated but not divorced.
Regarding allegations about deliberately excluding certain NOC talents from the deck, Chan disputed the claim. She explained that NOC has five to seven media kits. But NOC would send clients a “generic deck”, which is “the most varied, all-in-one, but simplified”. They also “tend to put the bigger names, the more prominent names, or show a bigger variety in this deck.”
As for allegedly misappropriating company funds to pay for personal expenses, including some bills and the rent of a shophouse, Chan said that the shophouse, which she lives in with her brother, has always been “marketed as NOC’s office.” She said that her team goes to “that office to work all the time”, and “they use the place to shoot” videos as well.
Furthermore, Chan denied paying her brother a fake salary to get his permanent resident status. “He has always worked in NOC. He has always been a talent since day one, our very first video,” she said. “For a period of time, he was also the props manager, producer.” Chan also said she was hurt by the accusations as her brother went back to Malaysia during COVID-19, and even did the talent jobs while he was stuck there due to the Malaysian movement control order.
Regarding allegations about the sex barter trade with a courier guy, Chan laughed at its ludicrousness. She explained that “a trade must have give and take”, and that NOC makes videos and is not a retail company — there is nothing NOC can send; no goods to be delivered. She also questioned, “What is wrong if you introduce girlfriends to really rich guys?”
At the end of the interview, Chan, who had been keeping quiet, disclosed that the turning point for her to agree to this interview is when her mother, who lives in a village in Johor Bahru and saw the news on Channel 8, was “very badly affected” by the scandal. The interview was also more for catharsis, rather than to achieve anything. “If today is my last day of my career and I’m out, then so be it. But at least, I’m given a chance to say something,” Chan said.