Ohm Pawat Chittsawangdee continues to draw flak as a result of a bullying incident years ago. In Part One of our article, we dwell on the background of the issue and present the available facts, the ongoing discussion in social media, and what appears to be missing dots in the narrative.
- Ohm Pawat’s Bullying Incident: Background
- A Background on Bullies
- The State of Bullying in Thailand
- Is Bullying a Crime in Thailand?
- The Social Media ‘Narrative’
- What factors add up to the negative narration of the story?
- Schools of Thought
- The Local Sentiments (Inside Thailand)
- The Last Word
Ohm Pawat’s Bullying Incident: Background
Ohm Pawat, an award-winning and popular Thai actor, was accused of bullying by his former schoolmates. According to the allegations, Ohm Pawat mocked an autistic child in his former school, teased girls, and soaked one kid by throwing soda at them. On January 8, 2023, Ohm Pawat took to social media to issue a detailed statement apologizing for his past behavior and his former bullying days. In his apology, he explained that they were just mere “pranks” and that he did not understand the gravity of the situation at the time. He also apologized to the victim’s parents for causing them trauma.
I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart. This incident will never be erased and I will forever feel guilty about it. I will never forgive myself for this action once in my life.THAI ACTOR OHM PAWAT ISSUES APOLOGY AMID PAST BULLYING SCANDAL, PEP PH
In his apology, Ohm Pawat admitted that he was once a naughty young boy in his childhood and that most of the time, it was just a boy being a boy. He said that he had no clue that he had hurt someone around him and that he really had no bad intentions against them at the time when the incident happened. He also admitted that he and his fellow friends were penalized by the teachers and their parents were asked to speak with school administrators because of his actions. Eventually, he along with his parents apologized to the victims and their parents for his own wrongdoings.
Ohm Pawat said that because of the incident, he learned one precious life lesson which teaches him to become a better person each day. He feels sorry if something he had done in the past planted a scar on that friend’s heart and has lasted the pain on them. He is truly sorry from the bottom of his heart. This incident will never be erased and he will forever feel guilty about it. He will never forgive himself for this action once in his life. He wants to apologize to every single person who was affected by his childish action.
A 2020 interview reveals Ohm admitting his past behavior. Note that this interview took place before the current brouhaha:
The reactions to Ohm’s admission are mixed. Some say he’s brave to admit to his past mistake while others continue to condemn his actions and believed that his apology is insincere.
A Background on Bullies
A leading psychologist explains bullying among youth:
As kids move into middle school, some engage in bullying behaviors in order to look cool, to make friends, or because they think it will make them more popular. Youth might also engage in bullying if they are exposed to aggression in their homes, including among siblings or adults who manage conflict through aggression. Schools play a role as well. When youth attend middle schools where there are concerted, authentic efforts to prevent bullying, they report bullying others less. Students in middle schools where sexual harassment is not tolerated by teachers or other staff also report less bullying. It’s important to consider how bullying looks different in elementary school than in middle school. Youth exposed to community violence also show increases in bullying over the course of middle school. To prevent youth bullying, prevention efforts must teach children and adolescents individual emotion regulation skills, how to foster peer acceptance, and ways to counter any detrimental effects of exposure to violence in their homes and communities. We must recognize that schools play a critical role in reducing these behaviorsPsychologist Offers Insight on Bullying and How to Prevent It – a quote from Dorothy Espelage, PhD
The State of Bullying in Thailand
Thailand is considered one of Asia’s hotspots in terms of bullying incidents. According to The Bangkok Post:
As many as 92% of schoolchildren in Thailand have been subjected to physical or psychological abuse by their peers, while 13% are medically depressed from bullying, a recent survey conducted by the Network of Legal Advocates for Children and Youth showed.
The survey, involving more than 1,000 students from 15 schools nationwide aged between 10 and 15, found that 92% reported being bullied by their peers at least once. Of them, 35% said they had been bullied at least twice a semester, while 25% said they underwent bullying at least three or four times a week.school bullying problem worsening, written by dumrongkiat mala for the bangkok post. article is dated january 2020.
Is Bullying a Crime in Thailand?
In Thailand, although there is no specific law providing a criminal penalty for cyberbullying crime, there are relevant provisions in the Thai Criminal Code and Thailand Computer Crime Act. Section 326 of the Thai Criminal Code provides that “Whoever imputes anything to the other person before a third person in a manner likely to impair the reputation of such other person or to expose such other person to be hated or scorned, is said to commit defamation and shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or fined not exceeding twenty thousand Baht, or both.” The offense of defamation could be applied to bullying behaviors. Also, if the bullying is done in public, especially cyber bullying which is mostly done through social media, the internet, emails, networking, and other electronic devices, such actions may be deemed asCriminal Penalty on Cyberbullying in Economic Analysis of the Law by Piyakorn Yongvanich
The offense of Defamation by Publication under Section 328 of the Thai Criminal Code.7 And, sometimes the shall be deemed as the Offense of Insulting under Section 3938 which is a petty offense, under Book III of the Thai Criminal Code with a small penalty: imprisoned not out of one month or fined not out of one thousand Baht, or both.
While the above is an abstract based on research, it is specific to cyberbullying. Based on available information, the bullying incident has been resolved during the time it happened when families of the involved parties met at school. Being a minor, allow exceptions to criminal penalty.
There is a contradictory note when the Twitter account incompletekiddo maintains that they have yet to get an apology. Does it mean, they are still waiting for Ohm to apologize to them?
The Social Media ‘Narrative’
A popular Tiktok video showing a negative reaction to Ohm Pawat’s bullying issue capture the sentiments of some online users:
A more positive Tiktok video is also available for you to determine the mood of the reactors.
To sum it up:
- The bullying incident happened many times, based on the Twitter account incompletekiddo, but since that account is in ‘private’ mode, we cannot have any further confirmation or additional information about when, how many times, and who was involved in the said incident. Among the more serious issue is that Ohm targeted an autistic kid. Commentators opine that he only targeted those who cannot fight back. The same Twitter account said it happened during elementary up to high school and that they still await the personal apology from Ohm;
- Some people want Ohm to apologize to the victims, not to his fans. Upon further research, it’s reported in the media that Ohm and his family had apologized to the victim(s) and parents already, way back in school when it happened;
- Some people believe that this issue should be between Ohm (and his parents) and the bullied schoolmates (and parents) and that many people dived into the issue without knowing the complete background and circumstances of the incident(s);
- Threats of harm, social ridicule, and hate comments/tweets on Ohm continue on social media to this day;
- Some people commented that being a ‘kid’ is not an excuse to bully another, and the behavior is – at the very least – a minor crime;
As of this writing, there are no “revelation” videos, confessions with actual dates, or pictures showing the actual harm done by Ohm. If there are medico-legal reports issued to the bullying victims as examined by Doctors which form part of the evidence against Ohm, are yet to be shown.
Note that the bullying incidents happened when the participants are still minors.
The laws regarding the publication of personal information of minors vary by jurisdiction. In some places, it is an offense to publish the name of a young person or any other information related to a young person if it would identify that he or she has been suspected of, charged with, or found guilty of a crime.
There has been no confirmation from the school, or the actual victims (except for the Twitter account mentioned) about the incident(s), nor did GMMTV (Ohm’s management) issue a direct statement about the incident and reactions (legal or otherwise) on the ongoing social media reactions to Ohm.
A teacher who knows Ohm Pawat had spoken about the memories of the actor in school. [Note: There is no source for this information and the message of the teacher is not verified as to who he/she is. A member of my team is trying to establish contact with the school.]
What factors add up to the negative narration of the story?
As in many cases, people’s attention to news or information, or gossip takes about eight seconds.
At that time, people draw their conclusions and decide on what he has read.
People also react negatively to bullying and bullies.
Bullying is a distinctive pattern of repeatedly and deliberately harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are smaller, weaker, younger, or in any way more vulnerable than the bully. It is not considered a part of true human behavior. However, people’s reactions to bullying can vary. Some people may condemn bullies even if they have admitted to their actions while others may not. It is important to note that everyone’s experiences and perspectives are different.
Schools of Thought
There are many discussions about what is happening now, what seems to be transpiring now – even though the incident took place many years ago:
The Trigger Effect
News reports attributed the Netflix series ‘The Glory’ as ‘instrumental’ in pushing for the Ohm bullying incident to surface once again. It ‘triggered’ bullied schoolmates to remember the past and call Ohm’s attention.
Rivalry and Competition
There is a concerted effort to bring down Ohm and use a past incident to indicate his “true” personality, attitude, and behavior. This mindset is indicative of rival fans who are willing to use hate and negative publicity to further their preferred actor. Others point to talent managers as the source of the negativity.
Ohm has one of the most impressive resumes of any young Thai actor. He has won awards (locally and internationally), he is most sought-after for lucrative projects, and he has a bright future. Bringing Ohm down will benefit his rivals, even though they may be innocent of such ‘undertakings’.
State of Denial?
Ohm may have angered or is in disfavor of a powerful clique or talent manager, or content manager. Did Ohm deny someone asking for a favor?
The Local Sentiments (Inside Thailand)
The biggest points against Ohm, according to some Thai bloggers and newscasters or opinion-makers is that he used the terms ‘naughty’, ‘it’s just a prank’, and ‘being just a boy’.
These made some people disappointed in his apology and based on reports, it took a week (more or less) before Ohm came out with an apology.
The Last Word
The current sour and foul mood remains. Ohm remains silent, except for the statement of apology. His management at GMMTV has not issued any direct statement either.
The overall sentiment among Ohm’s international fans is that his management is not taking this case seriously. There have been a number of Twitter accounts that are spewing hate and continue to harass and malign accounts supporting Ohm. However, on the other side, there are complaints from those who are against Ohm that fans are attacking them personally.
There is now an initiative where Twitter accounts who are promoting violence and physical harm are reported.
In Part 2, we tackle similar issues and negativity aimed at Thai BL actors who have been ridiculed, insulted, and threatened online, and use these incidents as case studies on what Ohm Pawat is currently being subjected to. Some important revelations on Ohm Pawat’s acting career pre-GMMTV. Including an analysis of Ohm’s best work and why they heavily favor Ohm in terms of box office and YT view appeal.
This article was originally published on 16 March 2023, with updates today.
An old-timer BL fan way back in 2007. I started out loving BL after watching the Takumi-kun series from Japan, went on collecting BL manga, and watched old BL anime such as Junjou Romantica and the likes. Love of Siam allow me to transition into Thai, while Amphetamine gave me glimpses of Taiwanese BL magic. I love to write reviews and I’m one of the administrators of Psycho Weird.