Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Porsche-driving British expat causes outrage over ‘poor people’ Facebook comments

Anton Casey, a 39-year-old senior wealth manager in the financial sector, apologises after comments referring to public transport commuters as 'poor people' sparked an online furore.
SINGAPORE // A Porsche-driving British wealth manager in Singapore who referred to public transport commuters as “poor people” has apologised after his Facebook posts sparked an online furore.

Anton Casey, a 39-year-old senior wealth manager in the financial sector, had also referred to washing “the stench of public transport off me” in one of his posts on the social network.

Furious online readers flooded websites on which his remarks were posted with comments, many of which subjected him and his family to verbal abuse.

Singapore has one of the world’s highest annual GDP per capita incomes with official data showing it stood at Sg$65,048 ($50,890) in 2012. The city-state also boasts one of Asia’s most modern public transport systems, with its 150-kilometre metro network carrying about two million people daily.

“I would like to extend a sincere apology to the people of Singapore,” Mr Casey said in a statement issued through a public relations firm late Tuesday.

“I have the highest respect and regard for Singapore and the good people of Singapore; this is my home,” said the permanent resident, who is married to a former Singapore beauty queen with whom he has a five-year-old son.

“I wish for nothing more than to be forgiven for my poor judgement and given a second chance to rebuild the trust people have had in me as a resident of this wonderful country.”

One of Mr Casey’s posts showed a picture of a boy, apparently his son, sitting inside a metro train with a caption above the photo saying: “Daddy, where is your car & who are all these poor people?”

Another showed a waving boy sitting inside a silver convertible Porsche, with a caption saying: “Ahhhhhhhh reunited with my baby. Normal service can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me.”

As the Facebook posts went viral online, a YouTube video of Mr Casey later emerged on various websites in which he appeared to be taunting his critics.

But Mr Casey in his statement denied that the video was made in response to the online furore.

He said it was an old video that had been “misused” by “unknown sources” to portray him as unrepentant.

Mr Casey also said there had been a “security breach” of his Facebook page and that his family had “suffered extreme emotional and verbal abuse online”.

Police were investigating death threats received by his family, he added.

“This guy is rich materially but poor spiritually,” a reader named Tony Tan wrote on TheRealSingapore, one of the online publications that reposted Mr Casey’s Facebook comments.

Another reader named Michael Ryan wrote: “Why oh why do you think you are so much better than others just because you happen to have cash ... Shame on you mate, shame!”

UPDATE: Singapore FM slams comments as “deeply offensive, wrong, and unacceptable”.

* Agence France-Presse

Updated: January 22, 2014 04:00 AM