Despite the Luzon lockdown and the suspension of mass transport amid the COVID-19 outbreak, thousands of workers in and around Manila — particularly those who work in industries deemed essential by the government — still need to get to work every day to keep some semblance of society functioning, not to mention put food on their tables.
It’s deeply ironic then, and more than a little irritating, when someone who works in what is arguably the least essential industry of all time — social media influencing (gag) — takes to the digital airwaves to call a bunch of struggling commuters “motherf**kers” from the safety of her ivory tower.
Cat Arambulo, who rose to whatever passes for fame these days after marrying a wealthy property developer, became a trending topic yesterday when she posted an Instagram video in which she profanely lashed out at TV news footage of workers passing through an ID checkpoint.
In the video, Arambulo can be heard off-camera, exclaiming at the TV, “Why don’t you motherf**kers just stay at home? Stay at home! Don’t you guys get it? You’re so stubborn! This is exactly why we need the military because you f**kers won’t stay at home!”
This is Cat Arambulo. A rich, elite social influencer cursing out WORKERS, daily wage workers, no pay no work labors, for going out to work or else their family will starve. Parasite isn’t just a movie. It’s our reality
— ᜊᜅᜆᜈ⁷ no bundles | reading tgcf (@yiIingtan) March 17, 2020
Unsurprisingly (and thankfully), Filipino netizens called out Arambulo, characterizing her as out of touch with the struggles of people trying to make ends meet in an adverse, and even dangerous situation.
In true tone-deaf influencer form, however, Arambulo went on the defensive, issuing a rambling sorry-not-sorry “apology” video in which she even sought to paint herself as an anti-COVID crusader.
“Hey guys, I’m really, really sorry to have to take it out on social media, but that outburst was really a reflection of how I feel about people not listening to the government. At this point in time, like honestly, like people really have to lock down and contain the virus. I’m not saying and referring to the frontliners out there that need to get to work. But what I am saying the people that are stubborn, and not following.”
“I mean, honestly, everyone is affected right now and the only way to contain this is by staying home, and it’s so sad… [That] was directed to people who aren’t listening,” she added.
“And guys, honestly, if you look through my whole social media… I mean, everything that I’ve been posting and everything that I’ve been doing was really to be more informative… at a sensitive time like this, which is really the way I am.”
Well, bless your little heart, Cat. You’re doing God’s work out there.
cat arambulo called workers struglling to commute ‘motherfuckers’ that ‘won’t follow the government’ and ‘won’t just stay at home’. this is her ‘apology’ and it doesn’t even sound like one; she refuses to acknowledge the conditions why those people had to go to work and + pic.twitter.com/EyD5BeNPJV
— (@empereald) March 17, 2020
Look, we get it — up to a point, at least. Maintaining good hygiene, ensuring a transparent flow of information (both to and from health authorities), instituting commonsense public health interventions, and, yes, keeping our distance from one another for a while is currently our best bet for “flattening the curve” of infections and keeping the outbreak manageable — and places like Singapore and Hong Kong are proving that’s possible.
That said, lockdown or not, everyday Filipinos still need to do things like buy food and pick up medicine. And some of those people — the ones not lucky enough to sequester themselves in palatial residences (speaking of which, who delivers your groceries, Cat?), or even enjoy the privilege of a steady salary in a white-collar, work-from-home job — still need to go to work to feed their families.
The fact that, for better or worse, social distancing is something of a privilege appears to be lost on Arambulo.
Many online were outraged by Arambulo’s rants, including Twitter user @yilingtan. “This is Cat Arambulo. A rich, elite social influencer cursing out WORKERS, daily wage workers, no pay no work labor[er]s, for going out to work or else their family will starve. Parasite isn’t just a movie,” they said, referring to director Bong Joon-ho’s class-conscious smash hit. “It’s our reality.”
Today, Arambulo issued yet another apology on Instagram, this one a bit more sincere — and sounding more than a little like it came after she received some very frantic phone calls from the businesses she uses her influence to promote.
“I would like to apologize for being insensitive. I didn’t mean to undermine everyone — hurt and offend everyone,” she said.
“My apologies, too, to the names and brands who got affected. This was a hard lesson for me and I will use this to educate myself and strive to be better.”
Do you think Arambulo deserved the scathing criticisms she received? Tell us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.
This article, Tone-deaf influencer Cat Arambulo ticks off internet, calls commuting workers ‘motherf**kers’, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!