Rizki Fachriansyah, Jakarta – Comedian Bintang Emon, who recently gained popularity for his satirical video that questions the light sentence sought for Novel Baswedan's alleged assailants, has become the subject of controversy on social media after several Twitter accounts purportedly belonging to so-called buzzers accused him of being a drug addict.
In a tweet posted by one such account, @Tiara61636212, Emon was said to have been a methamphetamine addict. The account further claimed Emon had turned to illegal drugs to maintain his performance as a stand-up comedian.
Photos of the comedian have also been posted on the social media platform along with the caption "addicted to meth". The account has been suspended at the time of writing.
Emon himself wrote on his official Twitter page, which has since been set to private, that he and his management team had been receiving anonymous emails.
The apparent attempts to discredit Emon seemed to have failed, however, as many other netizens have since tweeted in support of the young comedian. As of Monday afternoon, "Bintang Emon" has topped the national trending topics on Twitter.
Actor and fellow stand-up comedian Pandji Pragiwaksono wrote in a tweet that Emon had been attacked by the questionable accounts because he had done "the right thing".
Sekarang Indonesia tau Bintang Emon melakukan hal yg benar karena fitnah oleh organisator akun2 ini mengungkap bhw mereka ada di posisi yg salah. pic.twitter.com/JGb11JRseG – Pandji Pragiwaksono (@pandji) June 15, 2020
"Now Indonesia knows that Bintang Emon did the right thing because the allegations raised by the owners of these accounts reveal they are on the wrong side," @pandji tweeted on Monday, garnering nearly 30,000 retweets and 60,000 likes at the time of writing.
Twitter user @tapifanboyy called on fellow social media users to speak up in support of Emon amid the furor.
Bintang Emon adalah bentuk kebebasan, pemuda yang berani bersuara dengan nyata tentang hal hal yang dianggap suram di negeri ini. Bintang Emon adalah kita, kita yang geram akan keadilan yang seolah timpang. Kalian jangan cuek, beri dukungan untuk ikut menyuarakan keadilan. pic.twitter.com/oBMe6jIdiI – Bukan fakboy (@tapifanboyy) June 15, 2020
"Bintang Emon represents freedom, a young man who dares to speak up about the [injustices] in this country. Bintang Emon is us – we who are sick of injustice," they tweeted.
Another user, @nichkuss, similarly conveyed his support for Emon.
My fav's comedian is attacked by buzzers for speaking up the truth. Seriously, the way how this government work is suck. And why can't just the government accept all of the criticize instead of making shitty tweets and hashtags ????
I'll always stand for you, Bintang Emon pic.twitter.com/VrWoizYwuw– Nicolas Kusuma (@nichkuss) June 14, 2020. "I'll always stand [with] you, Bintang Emon,"
Meanwhile, other netizens have also attempted to clear unfavorable search results for Emon on the platform by tweeting his name multiple times alongside a string of positive adjectives such as "talented", "beautiful" and "precious".
Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) researcher Rivanlee Alexander told tempo.co that the controversy only went on to prove that there had been an active effort to silence dissenters in the country.
"Although the perpetrators remain unknown, what they have done is an example of intimidation against freedom of expression," Rivanlee said.
In a short video that went viral over the weekend on Instagram, Emon poked fun at the prosecutors' insistence that the defendants in Novel's case – Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis and Brig. Rahmat Kadir – had "accidentally" thrown sulfuric acid at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator's face in April 2017.
The skit was met with praise among fellow netizens and celebrities, with some lauding Emon's decision to use his penchant for humor to speak up about the notoriously difficult case.
Novel himself also went on the record to say that he found Emon's video amusing. "That boy is ingenious," he said on Saturday.