A popular comedian says he will not apologize for making jokes about garment workers on strike, despite a threat of legal action by a labor union.
The National Independent Federation Textile Union has complained that a one-hour comedy show broadcast two weeks ago titled “Fishing Rod Without a Barb” made disparaging remarks about workers participating in the recent labor strikes.
The union has written a letter to the broadcaster TV3 and the Ministry of Information, asking for an apology from comedian Ou Bunarat—also known as Krem—who wrote the script and acted in the program.
“We will file a complaint with the court against Krem and TV3 if they do not apologize,” Morm Nhim, president of the union, said Tuesday. “And if the court unjustly tries this case, we will rally in front of the station. We won’t give up until they apologize.”
Krem, though, said he is “too busy to care” about the complaint.
“I don’t pay attention to this story,” he said. “It is up to them.”
In the letter to TV3, union leader Morm Nhim quoted one actress in the comedy skit as saying: “Waging a demonstration is like breaking your own rice pot. If the boss dismisses you, how can you get a job? And if you do not have a job, you can only become a prostitute or beer girl.”
“Krem not only criticized the union, but looked down on all the garment workers and all women across the country,” Morm Nhim said.
Khieu Kanharith, secretary of state for the Ministry of Information, said it was the right of the union to file a complaint, but the Information Ministry does not dictate programming.
He said that apologies were made in advance for any offensive remarks.
“That is more than enough,” Khieu Kanharith said.