‘Ningnong Nantes:’ The problem with a Dingdong Dantes meme featuring a cleft lip

January 8, 2020 - 7:37 PM
Dingdong Dantes
Kapuso actor Dingdong Dantes. (Photo from Dingdong Dantes' official Instagram account)

Amid the popularity of memes featuring Kapuso actor Dingdong Dantes, a particular one stood out which featured him with a cleft lip, something that some Twitter users found offensive to people with the actual condition.

The edited photo was dubbed “Ningnong Nantes,” a reference to how people with the condition are referred to in an offensive manner — “ngongo.”

Some Twitter users found the picture amusing and a Filipino even shared it in response to Dantes’ tweet where he acknowledged the memes on social media — excluding the one with a cleft lip.

Dingdong Dantes meme
A screenshot of an offensive meme featuring Dingdong Dantes from Twitter. (Screenshot by Interaksyon)

The person or group responsible for perpetuating the picture itself is unknown but some Filipinos decried the graphic that made its way in the sea of memes.

RELATED: Dingdong Dantes names memes winner

“May idea ka ba kung gaano kami o ako na-a-anxious habang tumatanda? Na baka ‘di kami matanggap sa trabaho kasi ganto kami?” Twitter user @gabyoumetted wrote in response to a now-deleted tweet that shared the particular picture.

User @gabyoumetted also attached some screenshots of conversations with other people afflicted with the condition who also shared their own experiences.

“Oh, ayan. Sana mabasa mo ‘to ha, para alam mo struggle namin. Alam kong lahat tayo may kanya-kanyang hirap sa buhay pero sana ma-realize mo na makaka-dagdag sa struggle namin yung physical difference namin,” the user added.

At the start of the year, memes featuring Dantes suddenly went viral on social media.

His face was edited into different pictures and situations where Filipinos attempted to do wordplay on his name such as “Dingdong DoneTest,” “Dingdong Dancesteps” and “KingKong Dantes,” among others.

However, when a picture of him was edited to make it appear as if he has a cleft lip, things took a different turn.

Some Twitter users slammed the offensive picture and others, like user @gabyoumetted, opened up about their experiences being afflicted with the condition.

A cleft lip is an opening or split found in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth or both.

According to Mayo Clinic, it is one of the most common birth defects where the facial structures that are developing in an unborn baby do not close completely.

People with a cleft lip may have complications in eating and be at risk of ear infections and hearing loss.

Stanford Children’s Health added that they can also have difficulties in speech and language, as well as experience dental problems

A cleft lip can only be corrected through surgery.

Against the law 

It is against the law to make fun, ridicule and vilify persons with disabilities (PWD), according to Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. 

It is amended under Republic Act 9442, which highlights that PWDs cannot be specifically ridiculed for their state or condition, whether it is through verbal or non-verbal means.

Some of the specific acts include:

  • Making fun of a person on account of his/her disability even through jokes in a manner that is degrading resulting to the embarrassment of the person with disability in front of two or more persons;
  • Making mockery of a person with disability whether in oral or in writing.

The law also states that PWDs cannot be vilified or defamed through the following:

  • Calling a person by his disability in public which results to humiliation; 
  • Using the disability of a person as an example in a manner that is embarrassing and humiliating to the dignity of persons with disability.

It also prohibits any “activity in public which incites hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of persons with disability.”

First-time violators can be fined from P50,000 to P100,000 or be sentenced to jail for six months up to two years.