Netizens slam beauty influencer for his tribute to murdered teen Christine Silawan

A Filipino beauty influencer is facing a backlash from netizens after he paid tribute to murdered teen Christine Lee Silawan by coming up with an avant-garde but arguably insensitive  makeup look.

Drian Bautista (@Drian_Bautista) painted a half-skull on his face and uploaded a photo of himself to Instagram and Twitter yesterday, sparking a debate about whether he crossed the line or if his makeup was a valid form of protest.

He wrote this caption for both his Twitter and IG posts: “I did this for you RIP. Justice for Christine Lee Pardillo, 16, was raped, murdered, and they even skinned her face until her skull was exposed. It’s sad that there are people who are capable of doing such a thing.”

Bautista also added the hashtags “#DeathPenalty,” “#DeathPenaltyForRape,” and “#YesToDeathPenalty.”

Photo: Drian Bautista’s Twitter account

Silawan was a Grade 9 student whose half-naked cadaver was found in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu on March 11. Her face was skinned to the bone, and some of her internal organs were also missing. According to an autopsy, there were no signs that she was raped.

Her gruesome murder has led some people to call for the revival of the death penalty.

While Bautista had some supporters on Instagram, many netizens on Twitter criticized him for his tribute, which they deemed insensitive because of its reference to the brutality of Silwan’s killing. Some netizens also felt that he was exploiting the crime for fame.

Responding to a tweet posted by Bautista where he defended his post, one netizen said Silawan’s cadaver didn’t look like she was going to a photoshoot and that Bautista should have done his protest in a more respectful manner.

Photo: Drian Bautista’s Twitter account

@EmmmaWhatsOn thinks Bautista is craving for fame. She wrote: “It’s an act of ‘lemme show you my skills (I might become famous)’.”

Photo: Drian Bautista’s Twitter account

@nicolehermosooo wrote: “If he wanted to express his emotions with this look, he should have appeared grieving and sad, but no, he just looked pretty.”

Photo: Drian Bautista’s Twitter account

However, Bautista also had his share of defenders, such as @iamkkym, who doesn’t understand why people were so offended.

She wrote: “I don’t understand why so many people want him to take this down? Don’t you understand the word ‘tribute’? Uncultured swines.”

Photo: Drian Bautista’s Twitter account

Bautista has already posted an apology to those who were offended, and he took his post down on Twitter this afternoon. However, his Instagram post remains online as of writing.

In a Twitter message sent to Coconuts Manila, Bautista said he was spurred to create the glam look after he saw a photo of Silawan’s cadaver.

He said in a mix of English and Filipino: “When I saw her picture, I cried, and at the same time I felt anger because there are people who are capable of doing such a thing.”

“I did that as a form of protest. It wasn’t my intention to attract attention. I’m not the only one who has done that; I was just the only one who they (netizens) noticed,” he said.

Bautista said that the post was just his way of showing support for the restoration of the death penalty, which he believes Silawan’s killer deserves.

“I mean we have different opinions and I respect all of their opinions and I hope things will become ok. Because I said sorry already and I really mean it,” he said.

Update: This article was updated to mention that there were no signs that Silawan was raped. 

This article, Netizens slam beauty influencer for his tribute to murdered teen Christine Silawan, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!