Nas Daily branded 'neo colonialist' over 'exploitative' Philippines content

Nas Daily branded 'neo colonialist' over 'exploitative' Philippines content
Palestinian-Israeli vlogger Nusseir Yassin, known as Nas Daily, has come under fire again for his famed one-minute travel videos.
2 min read
06 August, 2021
Louise Mabulo (left) with Nuseir Yassin aka Nas Daily in 2019 at the Cacao Project. Louise Mabulo/Facebook

Palestinian-Israeli vlogger known as Nas Daily has been branded "exploitative" and "neo-colonialist" after coming under fire for an online marketing strategy that targets Filipino viewers with content about the country.

Nusseir Yassin, a Harvard graduate who rose to social media fame by producing one-minute travel videos, was accused of mocking their poverty while capitalising on Filipinos' pride for their country. He has denied all accusations, calling his detractors "malicious".

What ignited the flurry of accusations directed at Yassin was a claim that Nas Academy – a branch of the vlogger's business featuring online courses – would host sessions on the ancient Kalinga tattoo art held by 104-year-old famed Filipino tattooist Apo Whang-od Oggay.

Gracia Palicas, a grandniece of Whang-Od and a tattoo artist herself, dismissed these claims in post on a Facebook group, saying her grand aunt had never agreed to teach an online class.

"My grandmother did not sign any contract with @NasDaily to do any academy," she said. "PLEASE HELP US STOP this disrespect to the legacy of Apo Whang Od and the Butbot Tribe."

The online course, priced at under $15, was allegedly taken down only after Palicas agreed to delete her post.  

The latest volley of accusations came from social entrepreneur Louise Mabulo, who drew on Palicas’ disclaimer to relate her own experience with Yassin two years ago.

Mabulo said she was approached by Yassin to cover her initiative, The Cacao Project, via the vlog's famous one-minute videos.

Mabulo alleged that she watched Yassin "imitate and mock the local accent and language, vocalising Tagalog-sounding syllabic phrases saying it sounded stupid. He repeatedly said that the people of my hometown [were] 'poor'.”

“He didn’t care about making change or shedding light on real issues,” Mabulo said, accusing Yassin of "fuelling a neocolonialist narrative."

"We are not content to be exploited. We are not culture to be capitalised. We are not people to be romanticised. Or poverty to set the scene for ‘Benevolent Saviors’. We are more than what the world thinks of us."

Yassin did not immediately respond to The New Arab’s request for comment. In a statement circulating online, he said Mabulo should not share online falsehoods. That is borderline illegal.

He claimed the story on Mabulo's initiative never made it to becoming a video because she was personally profiting from the cacao plantations and the 200 farmers working in them.  

Last year, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement called for a boycott against Nas Daily, claiming the vlogger encouraged normalisation with Israel.