Gymnast Carlos Yulo scolds Twitterati over homophobic insinuations that Mark Bautista ‘flirted’ with him

Gymnast Carlos Yulo took to Twitter yesterday to defend a supportive message sent to him by singer Mark Bautista after thousands of netizens — presumably tittering like homophobic middle-schoolers — accused the latter of flirting with the athlete.

Yulo finished the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games men’s gymnastics competition yesterday with seven medals to his name, comprising two golds and five silvers. Amid the much-deserved celebrations, the gymnast tweeted a screencap yesterday morning of a direct message sent to him by Bautista, which simply read, “Congrats Man!! Amazing!” Another screencap also showed that the singer had followed his account.

Over the moon, Yulo wrote “Okay I’m shocked. He messaged me and he followed me as well WTF?!”

The tweet has since garnered over 47,000 likes and over 1,000 retweets, but several vulgar comments hinted that Bautista’s message and Twitter follow were an indication of his sexual interest towards the teen gymnast.

(Really, Twitter? That’s flirting? If so, then by that metric we’ve apparently “flirted” with an account devoted to pictures of fat animals and a robot that tracks changes in New York Times headlines.)

With over 2,000 people talking about the non-issue on Yulo’s Twitter feed alone, the gymnast felt forced to set the record straight later that afternoon.

He slammed the gossipy netizens, tweeting “It saddens me to see tweets about @iammarkbautista because of my tweet out of excitement. Kindness, message of encouragement and appreciation is not a sign of flirting.”

He added, “Let’s focus on the #SEAGames2019 and winning as one.”

Some, meanwhile, also called out Yulo for sharing a private message on social media, but cooler heads took the gymnast’s side, with Twitter user @Skrrrr_rt saying Yulo was “innocent.”

“He doesn’t know that people tend to be this malicious because he’s not always on social media. And there’s nothing wrong with [Yulo] posting [Bautista’s] message,” she said.

Photo: Carlos Yulo / Twitter

Meanwhile, Bautista, who came out as bisexual a year back in his autobiography Beyond the Mark, has kept mum about the overblown storm in a teacup.

Read: Filipinos cheering for medal-less Timor-Leste to score SEA Games win

Meanwhile, in other SEA Games-related Twitter news, Filipinos’ boundless support for underdog Team Timor-Leste contributed to a false report widely circulating on Twitter yesterday that claimed a female member of the team won a silver in taekwondo.

So desperate were our ever-hospitable compatriots for the the tiny nation to win it’s first medal of the games, that many accepted the fake news unquestioningly, congratulating Timor-Leste on the achievement without realizing that the taekwondo finals won’t even start until Dec. 7 (which means no silver medals have actually been given yet).

SEA Games fever has also swept the Philippine House of Representatives — or at least that’s what it’s embattled speaker, Alan Peter Cayetano, would have you believe. Cayetano, who has been in hot water for his perceived mismanagement of the games as the head of the organizing committee, introduced a resolution under which lawmakers promised to donate a chunk of their salaries to add to the cash rewards of Filipino SEA Games gold medalists.

House Resolution No. 568, which passed this morning, aims to raise at least PHP10 million (US$196,500) from the lawmakers’ January 2020 salaries to give to medal-winning athletes on top of the PHP300,000 (US$5,900) that the regional meet’s winners are entitled to under Republic Act 10699.

At present, the Philippines is leading the medal count with 57 golds, far more than the 24 it won at the 2017 SEA Games held in Kuala Lumpur.


This article, Gymnast Carlos Yulo scolds Twitterati over homophobic insinuations that Mark Bautista ‘flirted’ with him, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!