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​Vietnamese rock singer apologizes on TV after sexual harassment allegations

Monday, May 14, 2018, 06:02 GMT+7
​Vietnamese rock singer apologizes on TV after sexual harassment allegations
Vietnamese rock singer Pham Anh Khoa performs in a concert. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese rock singer Pham Anh Khoa, who is accused of sexual harassment by three women in separate incidents, has appeared on TV to issue an apology to his alleged victims, but not everyone is convinced.

The first woman to speak out against Khoa was dancer Pham Lich, who on April 27 accused the 33-year-old rock singer of having verbally harassed her in front of their colleagues while the two were shooting for a reality television singing competition.

Lich said Khoa’s “abusive flirting” even intensified after she had reacted strongly against his moves and reported the incident to the organizers of the show.

In a post on Facebook four days later, Khoa said Lich’s claims were nothing but “slanderous accusations” aimed at smearing his public image and that of his family.

“As of this moment, our lawyers are working on the protection of our legal rights and my team is willing to take this issue to court,” Khoa wrote on the social media on May 1.

Pham Anh Khoa (R) and Pham Lich during a reality TV singing competition.
Pham Anh Khoa (R) and Pham Lich during a reality TV singing competition

Not long after the first alleged victim went public with her accusation, another woman who was one of Khoa’s backup dancers during his performance tour around Vietnam in early 2018 also accused him of sexual harassment in an exclusive interview with a local news website.

Le Hoang Nga My, 23, claimed she had received suggestive text messages from the rock singer repeatedly inviting her to come to his place after midnight while they were on tour.

The invitations did not stop even after she had turned him down time after time again and told him that she already had a boyfriend, My said in the interview published on May 5.

The female dancer provided the media with a screenshot photo of an Instagram message Khoa sent her in January, in which he allegedly told her, “Don’t bring your boyfriend.”

Another alleged victim, who asks to remain anonymous but claims she has worked as Khoa’s stylist, said the singer had both verbally and physically harassed her while they worked together.

“He told me he had stripped me naked in his mind and would often hinted that he ‘had a thing’ for slim women with tattoos,” the woman said in a separate interview with the news site.

Khoa had once cornered her to a wall while she was alone during a trip, locked her hands and told her she “could not escape” from him as she struggled for 15 minutes to break free, according to the woman’s account.

It was only thanks to the arrival of another colleague that Khoa did not succeed in his sexual attack, she claimed.

Vietnamese rock singer Pham Anh Khoa (R) appears in a TV program to issue an apology following allegations of sexual harassment.

Khoa appeared on Friday in a TV program sponsored by the Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents (CSAGA), a non-governmental organization, in which he apologized for any ‘emotional distress’ felt by his accusers but fell short of admitting his wrongs.

“I will pay more attention to my words and actions from now on,” he said, adding that what he had said or done had merely been because of his “characteristic” and “personal instinct” that was typical among the show business.

However, Khoa’s TV appearance attracted a new wave of criticism, as viewers pointed out the singer neither admitted to having done anything wrong nor addressed his alleged victims by name.

He is also slammed for accepting CSAGA’s offer to work with the NGO on future projects to raise public awareness of sexual abuse and educate fellow male artists about abusive behaviors.

Pham Anh Khoa (second R) and his accusers Pham Lich (L), Le Hoang Nga My (R) and a stylist (second L) who asks to remain anonymous.
Pham Anh Khoa and his accusers Pham Lich (L), Le Hoang Nga My (R) and a stylist (second left) who asks to remain anonymous.

In related news, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) office in Vietnam announced on Friday they had had cut ties with Khoa due to the sexual harassment allegations.

The rock singer has been UNFPA’s goodwill ambassador for the protection of women and children against violence since July 2017.

Pham Anh Khoa, 33, became known after he joined the 2006 cycle of Sao Mai Diem Hen, a popular singing competition organized by national broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV).

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Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

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