A fast food corporation and an advertising agency both denied that they issued alleged casting guidelines that discriminate against actors who have appeared in Boys Love (BL) series for their promotional shoots.
Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) on Wednesday said that “there is no truth” to the circulating posts on social media disallowing them to hire talents who have previously appeared in BL series, a genre of shows featuring homoerotic relationships between male characters.
“Consistent with our values and ethical stands, JFC has not issued any directives or guidelines that is discriminatory in nature. We treat everyone with respect and recognize the value of each individual,” it said in a statement.
“We are taking the necessary steps to prevent any similar incident that misrepresents our company,” JFC added.
Here is the official statement of Jollibee Foods Corporation. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/eFSIGWdbfa
— Bestfriend Jollibee (@Jollibee) May 18, 2021
GIGIL, the advertising agency whose clients include JFC, similarly denied issuing such directives.
“JFC never gave us any directions to exclude talents who have appeared in BL materials. Neither have they given any other discriminatory instructions. We also did not issue any direction to any of our production partners to do the same,” it said on a statement.
“We are looking into this matter, and we will take appropriate steps to ensure that we only work with production houses and talent casters that do not tolerate discrimination. GIGIL continues to be a strong supporter of the LGBTQ+ community,” the agency added.
— Gigil (@GigilGroup) May 18, 2021
Prior to this, a Twitter account posted alleged casting guidelines from JFC which included a line that said: “Make sure na ang mga talents ay hindi gumawa ng BL series.”
The post was a response to theater actress Teetin Villanueva‘s tweet on Monday where she shared a message containing the same words.
“Philippines.. we have a long way to go..” she said in response to the message.
Philippines.. we have a long way to go.. pic.twitter.com/bvGyrfRLSB
— Teetin Villanueva #BoysLockdown (@teetinv) May 17, 2021
Teetin also tagged singer-actor Markki Stroem in another post as she acknowledged another message wherein the sender said that it had already talked with its casters, production houses and its ad agency about the issue.
If this will spark change, this is a step in the right direction. THANK YOU in advance to all companies and production houses that will follow-through and support this. ✨ Super appreciate it! 🙏😭
— Teetin Villanueva #BoysLockdown (@teetinv) May 18, 2021
Markki, meanwhile, tweeted that “a friend associated with
@Jollibee” had messaged him and said that they “had no idea that these casters were sending out these texts.”
“I know him personally, and know for a fact he would never discriminate against the LGBTQIA++ community. It is the casters at fault, he vehemently apologized as they had no idea that these casters were sending out these texts,” he wrote.
So, a friend associated with @Jollibee messaged me. I know him personally, and know for a fact he would never discriminate agains the LGBTQIA++ community. It is the casters at fault, he vehemently apologized as they had no idea that these casters were sending out these texts. pic.twitter.com/eVSoLL4Lcn
— Markki Stroem (@Markkistroem) May 18, 2021
Non-profit organization Metro Manila Pride called the reported discrimination “malicious and harmful to the LGBTQIA+ actors and their livelihoods, especially in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.”
It also argued that the recent rise of Filipino BL series “has helped mainstream LGBTQIA+ narratives in Philippine media.”
The non-profit organization then reiterated its calls for the passage of a SOGIE-specific anti-discrimination law in the country that legally protects the rights and welfare of the LGBTQ+ community.
SOGIE stands for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression.
As of December last year, a Senate panel has approved a bill that aims to prohibit discrimination, marginalization, and violence committed on the basis of one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characters.