Amos Yee has retracted his apology for falsely alleging that his former bailor Vincent Law molested him. “Yeah I lied, again… I wasn’t really going to tender an apology to Vincent,” Yee said on his Facebook page at about 2am on Saturday morning.
In a long, expletive-laden, blog post, Yee quoted the dictionary definition of molest as “To disturb, interfere with, or annoy”. “Technically, Vincent didn’t molest me, but yet he did,” he said.
In an earlier Facebook entry on Friday, Yee had said he was “extremely remorseful for the turmoil that I have caused to Vincent and his family, for the allegations towards him that he molested me.”
Mr Vincent Law, a family and youth counsellor, had said that Yee had hurt his whole family with his allegation. After Yee retracted and apologised, Mr Law said he would not pursue the matter further. “I’m satisfied regardless of whether he meant it or not,” he said.
Now, Yee claims that it was stupid of people to believe that he would actually issue a sincere apology. He attributes this “inherent stupidity” to “the mindset inherent in that of religion”.
In his blog entry, Yee called Mr Law a “molester”, a “mentally unsound person” and a “hypocrite”. He claims that “although Vincent didn’t sodomize me physically, he did violate me emotionally”.
This was after Roy Ngerng had warned him it would be hard for supporters to advocate for him after he had publicly humiliated Mr Law. To this, Yee said he does not want the support of hypocrites. Yee also said that Mr Law was wrong to get angry about the allegation of molest.
Over the course of his blog post, Yee describes his interactions with his bailor and explains how he plotted to publicly humiliate Mr Law while he was still in remand prison.
He would hold a really large party to celebrate his release, invite as many people as possible, including Mr Law, then publicly reveal “the torture that Vincent had inflicted on me”. He had hoped that Mr Law would respond violently, get caught on camera and be exposed on YouTube.
But when the reporters started harassing him, he decided to both troll the media and humiliate Mr Law simultaneously. He called this plan “impeccable”.
Recognising that his allegation “could potentially have ruined [Vincent’s] relationship with his family, made him lose his job and his entire livelihood”, Yee said it was warranted by “all those horrible things he did to me”. “Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold,” he said.
Yee also pointed out that he hopes the allegation of molestation and his latest blog post would damage Mr Law’s reputation.
Yee claims that he never wanted Mr Law to be his bailor and said that there were three other persons who were willing to bail him out. However, the decision was made by a friend, Jolovan, who Yee said failed to consider “whether or not the bailor would be an asshole”. Yee speculated that Jolovan might have been manipulated by Mr Law but maintained that Jolovan was still to blame for his “piss-poor” decision which led to his traumatising experience with Mr Law.
When Yee first met Mr Law, Yee said he had the “gut feeling” that Mr Law was an “absolute f**king asshole” because he was a Christian. When Mr Law attempted to explain Christianity, Yee thought his points “like every theist who tries to validate their religion, was (sic) absolutely baseless and horrible”.
Yee presented “the usual Atheist arguments” that “there’s absolutely no evidence at all that Jesus existed, the false sense of hope created by religion impedes one to more effectively solve personal problems and thus impedes the betterment of oneself, Christianity is responsible for several generations of violence and still is responsible for causing turmoil and fear to adherents alike”.
According to Yee, Mr Law responded by threatening to discharge himself as his bailor, claiming that Yee did not like him.
In another incident, Yee said that Mr Law wanted him to attend the play, Public Enemy, as he had been invited to it by its directors. Mr Law also wanted to have a meet-up the next day. However, Yee “wasn’t in the mood” so he “declined the invitation”.
According to Yee, Mr Law responded by threatening to discharge himself again and subsequently insisted on meeting Yee every day. Yee described these meetings as “unbearable” and claims that Mr Law intentionally did it to piss him off.
When Mr Law pointed out how much criticism he had received on Facebook, and asked Yee to appreciate his efforts, Yee responded in his blog post: “Buddy, you’re the one who went up and said you wanted to be my bailer… I do not appreciate a f***ing thing that you did, no matter how much you want it. Appreciation is earned, not demanded.”
When Mr Law warned Yee that taking pictures and uploading them would breach the terms of his bail (which disallows Yee from posting anything online), Yee claims Mr Law got “angry and riled up” because he was “jealous that I am getting attention”.
From that incident onwards, Yee said he tried to make his meetings with Mr Law “as painful for him as possible”. Yee “constantly criticized him, insulted his career choice”, and “blatantly revealed the falsehood and bullshit” of his religious beliefs.
Yee then explained how he had planned all along to breach the terms of his bail, and described it as something he would have done sooner had it not been for Mr Law’s pestering. He recognised that doing so might stain Mr Law’s reputation as a bailor and prevent him from effectively acting as a bailor for other people such as migrant workers, something Mr Law frequently did.
After Yee violated the conditions of his bail and was taken back into remand custody, Mr Law told him that he would continue to be his bailor if Yee followed his rules. When Yee replied “fck no”, Mr Law discharged himself. Yee said Mr Law’s action, taken “with such immediacy, was just so revealing”.
Mr Law subsequently attended most of Yee’s court hearings and attempted to visit him in prison. Yee accused him of “adamantly jutting himself into other people’s personal life when nobody wanted him” and recounted how he would point the middle finger at him whenever they made eye contact.
As for the artists in the play Public Enemy, Yee described them as nice people who are nonetheless terrible actors, people who were fooled by Mr Law into thinking he was kind hearted.
Yee claims that throughout this time, Mr Law treated him like a slave. He considers himself a “great person” who was “incessantly victimized”, first by the Government, then his father, and now Mr Law.
Yee called Mr Law’s initial demand for a public retraction and apology inconsistent with his support for free speech. Mr Law’s intentions were never genuine, Yee argued.
At the end of his blog post, Yee called this “an exciting story” and relished the prospect of going around,”‘brother-in-arms, village to village, laughing, sharing and spreading the tale – of the molestation of Vincent Law”.
“Have fun!” he concluded.
Mr Law initially posted bail of $20,000 on April 21 after Yee’s parents decided against doing so. Even though Yee violated his bail conditions by publishing two blog posts on April 29, the judge decided to give him a second chance because he was young and immature. As a result, Mr Law did not forfeit his $20,000 bail.
Additional note on clarifications of fact:
According to The Online Citizen, Amos Yee did not have a choice of bailor because out of the four who offered, two pulled out and one wanted to only be the bailor as a last resort. That person was Teo Suh Lung, an ex-ISA detainee, whose involvement would understandably give the mainstream media a field day. Hence, Mr Law was chosen as the bailor.
As for his meetings with Mr Law, it is not true that Amos met him every day. According to The Online Citizen, Amos met Mr Law on six occasions. Four were in public places, one was at Amos’ home, and one took place in the presence of Mr Law’s wife and children. One meeting took place after he was released, one after the Public Enemy performance, and four other sessions were for counselling. Mr Law’s son, Francis, maintains that Mr Law only insisted on meeting Amos because it was part of his conditions as a bailor. (See photo evidence.)
Regarding Mr Law’s interactions with Amos, Francis maintains that Mr Law truly cared for Amos and always put a positive portrayal of Amos in the press. On why Mr Law chose to bail Amos out, Francis says: “My dad did it because he saw a brilliant boy who needed a second chance. He didn’t care for the publicity, he wasn’t ‘jealous’ that Amos was getting all the attention. All he wanted was to help Amos out of his predicament.”
“In many ways, my dad treated Amos almost like a son. While he may have seemed hard on Amos in front of him, my dad stood up for Amos in more ways than one,” he said in a Facebook post. (For a more complete evaluation of some of these new allegations, see: I am not Amos Yee: The end of an icon.)
Comment: More than I was shocked and offended, I was saddened to see Amos Yee go down this road. His latest blog post is revealing of a morally and intellectually bankrupt worldview which leads him to see benefactors as enemies, first his bailor, then Jolovan and now his supporters who he calls hypocrites.
So while I am vigorously opposed to his prosecution and conviction, I do not support his contempt towards the fundamental dignity of other persons.
As I was reading his lengthy blog post, I asked myself why I bothered. (It was not easy). Why not just ignore him and move on? I’m not really sure. I am reminded of Nathan Heller’s shallow understanding of the boy which led him to call Amos a a selfless, precocious, fount of wisdom and a boy-genius who will hopefully run our country someday. For now at least, this seems like a rather improbable assessment. I wouldn’t want such a person running Singapore anyway.
But enough with the attempt to figure out the 16-year-old. I simply want to say that free speech is a contradiction if it acts in such a manner that is, if it shuts out others from the debate by impugning their character. This is why we may legitimately impose restrictions on free speech, by outlawing defamation or hate speech that seeks to exclude individuals or groups from the debate.
UPDATE: I explain why we need to separate free speech arguments from the Amos Yee icon more fully here.
READ MORE: I am not Amos Yee: The end of an icon