Following charges of cultural exploitation, Nas Academy, the online portal run by Nuseir Yassin alias Nas Daily, has clarified the situation around Apo Whang-Od’s contentious online course.
Whang-Od’s granddaughter, Gracia Palicas, termed the masterclass a “scam” and claimed that the famed tattoo artist had not signed a contract to lead it.
Nas Daily shared a video of Apo Whang-Od signing an agreement using her thumbmark on its Facebook page.
“There has been a post circulating online regarding our beloved Whang-Od Academy. The post claims that Whang-Od has no knowledge of the Academy and that this is a scam. As a company, we have been champions of the Philippines from Day 1, so this makes us very sad to hear. Let us set the record straight,”Nas wrote in the caption.
Whang-Od and her family, according to Nas, were enthralled by the concept and collaborated with them to create the academy.
The majority of the revenue from the PHP750 course went to Whang-Od and her family, according to Nas Academy. The masterclass has been removed from the site temporarily while the Academy works to rectify any concerns that have emerged as a result of these falsehoods.
“We approached Whang-Od because just like you, we love her. We love her traditions, and are inspired by her. We wanted to share her culture for future generations to appreciate and respect the ancient Kalinga tradition of mambabatok,”Nas said.
“So we pitched her family the idea of creating Whang-Od Academy. Her and her family present both loved this idea, and have worked WITH US to build it, with Whang-Od teaching herself. As a matter of fact, Whang-Od’s trusted niece, Estella Palangdao, was present and translated the content of the contract prior to Whang-Od affixing her thumbprint, signifying her full consent to the project. This is the clearest evidence that it is not a scam and achieved the consent of her and her immediate family,”he added.
Nas’ comment was in response to accusations of cultural “exploitation,” in which he was accused of using Filipino culture for personal benefit and fame.
‘40% of Nas Academy is made up of Filipinos. So for us, this is personal. We care deeply about the Philippines and respect the many cultures and traditions that exist across the country. And we have all come together to make the world a better place.’Nas said
“Thank you for supporting our mission!”Nas wrote in conclusion.
The controversy sparked widespread outrage because of fears of cultural appropriation. Foreign vloggers have a habit of capitalizing on trends and engagements from a country considered the “social media capital of the world,” so “Pinoybaiting” was a sore area as well.