On 7 October 2021, alleged verbal abuse against Tan by her employer Sylvia Chan of Night Owl Cinematics surfaced on the Instagram page sgcickenrice. In the post, Sylvia allegedly used various insults on Tan including a request for an “exit strategy” for Tan.
Tan attended St. Hilda’s Secondary School from January 2007 to December 2011. She later graduated from Temasek Polytechnic with a diploma in Early Childhood Studies before earning her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education with Psychology from Singapore University of Social Sciences.
Joining Singapore’s National Volleyball Team
Tan was part of the National squad for the Volleyball Association of Singapore in 2016.
Tan’s first modelling gig was with clothing brand Lilypirates. She also took part in TNP New Paper New Face in 2013 when she was 19, eventually making it to the top 20 but fell short of any prize.
After earning her diploma, Tan worked as a preschool teacher at Sparkletots Preschool from December 2015 to May 2017. She shared candidly that childhood education has always been a passion of hers:
“Long story short, I think it’s just destiny. It’s my destiny to be a preschool teacher.”
She also worked as a student teacher at Little Skoolhouse By-the-Vista from 2017 to 2018. From April 2021 till present, she is teaching at a daycare center called GU+MMI Smart Kids.
Night Owl Cinematics Controversy
Sgcickenrice exposé (7 October 2021)
On 7 October 2021, an anonymous Instagram account sgcickenrice uploaded several posts of Night Owl Cinematics co-founder, Sylvia Chan, allegedly insulting Tan. The posts were apparently made in February 2020, a few days before the last episode of kNOCk Out aired.
Talenting at Night Owl Cinematics (2020)
Tan joined the production company Night Owl Cinematics in 2020, after they held a reality show called kNOCk Out, where 10 contestants compete to become the best content creator. Tan was able to stand out with her performances and eventually emerged as the winner of the show. She was subsequently signed with Night Owl Cinematics as one of their talents.
Tan has since appeared in various comedy-sketches and hosting videos with Night Owl Cinematics.
Alleged verbal abuse by Sylvia Chan of Night Owl Cinematics (2020-2021)
The posts on Instagram account sgcickenrice included a leaked audio clip of Sylvia calling Tan out with various vulgarities and wanting an “exit strategy” for her.
“But if she can say that she would like to focus on behind the scenes that would be great, but she doesn't really have to say that (be)cause b*tch is f**king dumb. Basically the whole idea is I want Samantha to exit. Give me an exit strategy.”
There were also screenshots of alleged conversations from Sylvia calling Tan a “f**k face” and stating how she finds Tan annoying to work with.
Response to the controversy (2021)
It’s unclear if Tan has left Night Owl Cinematics since the allegations surfaced. A day after allegations surfaced, Tan spoke up on Instagram stories using a “minor fall in a bouncy castle” as an analogy for her experiences with Night Owl Cinematics.
“The people who jumped on board this bouncy castle before are sharing with people that there are rocks in there, it’s really time to acknowledge these rocks and then if possible remove them so people don't get injured by the same thing. That’s my take on the situation that transpired.”
Statements from Night Owl Cinematics (2021)
On 11 October 2021, Night Owl Cinematics put out an official statement on their Instagram account stating that the allegations were a “malicious attack” on its employees and a massive smear campaign.
In the letter, there was no direct communication or outright denial of the statements made against Tan by Sylvia. Night Owl Cinematics also sent a lawyer’s letter to Instagram account sgcickenrice, demanding a “cease and desist” from the anonymous account.
Sylvia’s apology and Tan’s response (2021)
On 13 October 2021, Sylvia issued an official apology on her Instagram account. In her apology, she clarified she only found out about Tan’s 3 years government bond late into the production of kNOCk Out. This prevented her from giving Tan a full-time contract with Night Owl Cinematics.
“As the executive producer, that really upset me as I felt that everything we did in the show was for nothing, since she (Tan) would not be able to win the grand prize anyway.”
Tan pointed out an inaccuracy in Sylvia’s apology in a series of Instagram stories on 14 October 2021. Tan said that she had already informed Night Owl Cinematics prior to the filming of kNOCk Out that she was in a 3 year government bond.
“Before I signed it, I made it clear that I had a gov bond for three years, and the lawyer from NOC also reviewed my contract to make sure that it was okay that I have two contracts running at the same time.” She also disputed that the grand prize of signing a contract is exclusive to the winner only, as all participants had already signed the contract prior to filming.
References / Citations
- Team NOC. “40 Questions With Samantha.” Facebook. October 29, 2020. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- Tan, Samantha. “Samantha Tan Yifen Portfolium.” Portfolium. Accessed 11 October, 2021.
- “Is this discriminating against employees? @samanthatyf are you aware that this is going on? How do you feel?.” Instagram. October 7, 2021. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- Volleyball Association of Singapore. “Annual Report 2016/2017.” Volleyball Association of Singapore. 2016. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- “Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you - Modelling & Volleyball.” Instagram. February 20, 2021. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- Night Owl Cinematics. “Judges REACT to the WORST auditions (with JianHao Tan) | kNOCk Out Episode 1.” YouTube. January 5, 2020. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- Night Owl Cinematics. “Who Will WIN? | kNOCk Out Grand Finale (with JianHao Tan & Dee Kosh).” YouTube. February 23, 2020. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- Must Share News Team. “NOC Co-Founder Sylvia Allegedly Caught Using Abusive Language Towards Staff In Leaked Audio.” Must Share News. October 8, 2021. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- Justin. “Colgate Terminates Collab With Sylvia Chan; Night Owl Cinematics Talents Defend Ryan & Aiken.” Hype. October 9, 2021. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- “Night Owl Cinematics Official Statement.” Instagram. October 11, 2021. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- “We have received a lawyer’s letter.” Instagram. October 11, 2021. Accessed 13 October 2021.
- “Sylvia’s apology.” Instagram. October 13, 2021. Accessed 15 October 2021.
- Lee, Wei Lin. “NOC’s Samantha Tan Points Out Inaccuracies In Sylvia Chan’s Apology, Asks For “Support For Upcoming GoFundMe.” 8 days. October 14, 2021. Accessed 15 October 2021.