Lately, social media has been fueled by various polarizing issues involving Filipino celebrities and public figures, which often lead to the so-called cancel culture – a term used to describe a behavior that allows complete rejection of someone because they have said or done something offensive or problematic.
From Vhong Navarro to Ella Cruz, here is a list of local celebrities recently canceled online:
Actor and TV host Vhong Navarro earned the ire of social media users and women’s rights supporters following his detention at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday (Sept 20) due to an arrest warrant released by Taguig City Regional Trial Court Branch 69 in relation to a rape case filed against him by model Deniece Cornejo.
Navarro first surrendered to the NBI and posted bail of P36,000 for a separate acts of lasciviousness case also filed against him by Cornejo.
Navarro remained in NBI’s custody since rape, as a crime punishable by reclusion perpetua, is not bailable under Article III, Section 13 of the 1987 Constitution.
“Yes, [he is] innocent until proven guilty. But please, stop glorifying Vhong Navarro and defending him like he’s guileless because he’s NOT. It’s not the first time that he was accused of rape and molestation guys wake up!” a netizen said.
“It’s ‘believe all women’ until it’s your fave huh??” another Twitter user commented. “There have been MULTIPLE WOMEN to come [forward] with claims of sexual assault on Vhong Navarro but people (unexpectedly women) still defend him like he’s a saint. [That is] absolutely gross.”
“Vhong Navarro apologists piss me off. Their mindset are so disgusting like that’s RAPE y’all would really support a possible rapist over a victim [I don’t know] about [you] but I would rather stand with the victim [because] if she’s lying then at least she’s just a liar than supporting a rapist,” tweeted another social media user.
Eraserheads’ “Huling El Bimbo” comeback concert announcement on Monday (Sept 19) left some fans worried due to guitarist Marcus Adoro’s involvement in the local band’s reunion.
In 2019, Adoro was accused of domestic abuse by his former partner, actress Barbara Ruaro, and daughter, singer Syd Hartha.
The band’s supporters made it clear that they wanted Adoro to be held accountable.
“Stop being blinded just because we love them as a band. Marcus Adoro is CLEARLY an abuser who doesn’t deserve the limelight anymore. Malala ang pinagdaanan ng anak n’ya (His daughter went through a lot) under him just for us to sweep everything under the rug because he’s a member of a band we love,” a Twitter user said.
“Here’s a complicated and challenging question, though: How would you admire Eraserheads while holding Marcus Adoro accountable for his series of bad deeds at the same time?” wrote another netizen.
Another fan noted that “before we celebrate Eheads’ comeback concert, let’s not forget that Marcus Adoro is an abuser. He doesn’t deserve any support and a spotlight. He’s trash. Walang kwentang ama. Bastos (Useless father. Disrespectful).”
“Each day justice delaye[d] is justice denied. You cannot tell victims to move on. They have to live with the truth. If you choose to hold onto lies, then let that be your burden. You, move over,” said another user on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Ruaro took to Twitter to express her gratitude for netizens' support.
“Overwhelmed. Humbled. Words escape me. We are incredibly blessed and fortunate to receive such tremendous support from you all. To be frank, I personally did not expect many of you to remember, simply because of how the world has turned upside down. And how I’ve witnessed people choose idolatry over integrity, power over principle,” Ruaro said.
“I have no hate in my heart – just a burning hope that somehow, we can make something beautiful out of this. We are all living testimonies of the power of faith and love,” she added.
Hartha also expressed her appreciation to all supporters. “Salamat sa mga di nakalimot (Thank you to all those who have not forgotten [our story]).”
Eraserheads’ members Ely Buendia and Raymund Marasigan already spoke up about the allegation, saying that they “acknowledge the pain and suffering of the parties involved and we seek accountability” and they “hope the issue between the parties gets resolved soon.”
Singer-vlogger Donnalyn Bartolome drew flak last Aug. 11 after uploading a now-viral vlog about her kanto- or street-themed birthday party, alluding to how poor people celebrate their birthdays.
The celebration depicted streetside karaoke, tutong (burnt rice) as a substitute for a birthday cake, monobloc chairs and tables, paper plates and plastic utensils, and a jeepney that brought guests to the venue. Everyone also dressed in their kanto attire.
“Donnalyn Bartolome gets flak for her ‘kanto-themed’ birthday party, and rightfully so. Poverty is not a “theme.” It’s a reality for so many Filipinos,” one Twitter user said.
“Celebrating in a ‘simple’ manner is the default for the poor. They have no choice but to have as little food as possible because they can’t afford it. Meanwhile, Donnalyn Bartolome celebrates her ‘birthday sa kanto’ because she CAN and WANTS to,” commented another netizen on Twitter.
Bartolome defended the celebration on Facebook, saying, “Bawal na ba maging ako? Nagpapakatotoo lang ako. Sino ka para pagsabihan ako na mali bumalik sa dati kong gawi (Am I not allowed to be myself? I’m just staying real. Who are you to tell me it’s wrong to do what I used to do)?”
Bartolome previously apologized for another viral post involving a baby-themed photoshoot, which was criticized by netizens for supposedly sexualizing infants and enabling acts of pedophilia.
In a Philippine Star interview during the promotion of the pro-Marcos film “Maid In Malacañang,” dancer-actress Ella Cruz was quoted as saying, “history is like tsismis (gossip),” which received backflash from local personalities and historians.
Journalist Gretchen Ho said that “history’s narrative, while subject to the perspective of the author, must be written based on facts, and not opinion.”
“Don’t confuse history and chismis (gossip). History may have bias, but it is based on facts, not opinion. Real history is about truth, not lies, not fiction,” said historian and academic Ambeth Ocampo on Facebook.
Kabataan Partylist Representative Raoul Manuel, meanwhile, noted how historians’ job is not an easy task and encouraged the actress to engage with fellow youth about Philippine history.
“You are on the wrong side of history if you act as an apparatus to distort it,” the lawmaker said.
But Cruz would still maintain her position on the matter.
Ever since TV host-actress-turned-vlogger Toni Gonzaga declared support for the UniTeam tandem of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte in the 2022 presidential elections, she has been making rounds on social media for a number of problematic takes.
One of Gonzaga’s most controversial issues was her comment at a UniTeam rally in Cebu on April 18, declaring that the Malacañang Palace is the home of the Marcoses.
“Konting-konting panahon na lamang at magbabalik na si BBM sa kanyang tahanan, ang Malacañang (It’s only a matter of time until BBM returns to his home, the Malacañang),” the vlogger said.
However, netizens and Marcos critics were simply not having it.
Rappler reporter Jules Guiang said that “Malacañan should always be for the People and not as a prize to be reclaimed by a clan that spearheaded the dark days of our history.”
Meanwhile, historian and researcher Kristoffer Pasion reminded Gonzaga that the presidential palace is described as “the Palace of the People,” citing a monument of late President Ramon Magsaysay in the Kalayaan Hall, the oldest building in the Malacañang.
“Stop this clown ideology, Toni Gonzaga. Malacañang Palace will never be a home for Marcos again. We will never allow making this to fall into the hands of murderers, corrupt, and deceiver politicians like them,” wrote one Twitter user.
In February 1986, the Marcos family fled the presidential palace in haste following the EDSA People Power Revolution, which toppled Marcos Sr.’s 14-year dictatorship.
Actor Kit Thompson made headlines last March 18 after being arrested for allegedly abusing and mauling his girlfriend, actress Ana Jalandoni, in a Tagaytay hotel.
Jalandoni was rescued by police authorities after she made an emergency call following the beating incident.
Social media users were quick to call out Thompson’s acts and did not mince words.
“The Kit Thompson - Ana Jalandoni case... sends shivers down my spine. True love does not hurt or abuse their partners,” said one netizen.
“My heart is aching. I have a deep rooted hate [for] physical abuse. This will never be acceptable. For whatever reason — never beat a woman. Never lay your hands on her. NEVER.” commented another user on Twitter.
“Lakas makatrigger nung mga post about Kit Thompson (Posts about Kim Thompson are triggering) then some [people] blaming Ana Jalandoni for the abuse she experienced like tang— it is never acceptable to physically or mentally abuse someone, regardless of the reason,” commented another netizen.
Thompson later lost several television projects due to the controversy and took a break from showbiz before his return to acting this September, with a role in the upcoming movie “Showroom.”
Lé Baltar is a Manila-based freelance writer, poet, and film critic. They are secretary of the Society of Filipino Film Reviewers (SFFR). They are currently studying journalism at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Follow them on Twitter @baltarle for latest news and updates. For more of their work, visit their portfolio. The views expressed are their own.
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