Press Release
October 7, 2008

Loren pushes 4 punitive actions vs sexist, racist BBC show

Senator Loren Legarda demanded yesterday a public apology from the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) addressed to the Filipino nation over BBC's airing of a comedy skit that portrayed Filipino women as mere sex objects.

"That is most revolting," said Legarda, referring to an episode of the BBC show Harry and Paul that had been posted in the internet via youtube.

"It's an affront not only to Filipino women, but to all women. I, thus, urge a unified condemnation of this show by all women and by men, who do not countenance such disrespect."

Legarda said that the Philippines will not be bludgeoned into taking meekly such a racial attack on its people. She pushed at least four punitive actions against the people behind the show.

"On its own, the BBC must apologize to Filipinos and censure the show's producers, writers and all those responsible," she said.

"But we will not wait for BBC to act. We will leave no room for doubt that this will not pass unnoticed by the world."

Legarda said she will file a Senate resolution, urging the government to take the following course of action:

  • For the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to file a diplomatic protest with the British government;

  • For the producers, writers and other people involved in the show to be declared persona non grata in the Philippines;

  • For the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to blacklist people behind the show from ever employing Filipino migrant workers;

  • For similarly racist and sexist shows, not limited to those aired by BBC, to be banned from broadcast in the Philippines

Legarda said the filing of a diplomatic protest is an appropriate action on the part of the Philippine government because the BBC is owned and operated by the British government.

"Surely, some British broadcasting regulations must have been violated by this sorry excuse for a comedy show," said Legarda.

"This is worse than that episode of Desperate Housewives, which undermined the integrity of Filipino medical practitioners."

She said she felt revulsion over the female actor, depicting a Filipina maid, gyrating on screen on orders of her apparent employer.

Legarda said that actors cannot claim themselves to be blameless as they can always express objection to roles being asked them to play.

The senator said the scene was especially touchy since hundreds of cases of abuses through the years had already been reported victimizing Filipino household workers.

"It's not funny at all. It was in bad taste," she said. "Even British women must condemn this."

"I can't imagine a well-respected TV channel like BBC airing a satirical comedy as damaging as that one which depicts our very own Filipino woman as sex slave," she lamented.

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