Photojournalist Jilson Tiu quits as Canon Philippines brand ambassador amid flak over inclusivity

July 21, 2021 - 6:56 PM
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This composite photo shows photojournalist Jilson Tiu and a file photo of Canon camera. (Christian de Leon via Canon Philippines/Facebook; Stefan Hoogstrate via Unsplash)

A Filipino photojournalist dropped his ambassadorship with a popular camera maker following heavy scrutiny over its male-dominated list of representatives this year.

Photojournalist Jilson Tiu announced this on Wednesday on Facebook, citing that the Canon Philippines‘ non-apology to the situation was his “tipping point.”

“As of today, I am dropping my ambassadorship with Canon Philippines, it’s been a long time coming (three years) and this is the tipping point,” Tiu said.

“I love Canon cameras, so far, it’s been my partner for a decade of my photography career. What I don’t like is they didn’t apologized for the mistake that they’ve done. They should make up for it and apologize publicly,” he added.

Tiu also admitted that he has no idea what goes on inside Canon Philippines and its brand campaigns.

He recalled that before the camera brand unveiled the full list,a colleague asked him if a female photographer would be featured, he just assured her responding: “Yes, maybe, I’m sure meron yan. “

“To be honest I do not know what’s happening inside. I am seeing the same window as you,” Tiu said.

He then bid his goodbye to the camera company expressed his gratitude for the three years he worked with the brand.

“Thank you Canon for the three years, I will continue to use your camera as a tool, but I don’t want to be an ambassador to a brand that doesn’t align with my principles. Paalam at salamat, magkaiba tayo ng daan na nilalakaran,” Tiu said.

Controversy erupted after the camera maker unveiled its brand ambassador list for 2021 wherein all of them were male photographers.

READ: Amid all-male brand ambassadors backlash, Canon Philippines says it supports all cam enthusiasts regardless of gender

It immediately drew some criticisms among social media users and camera enthusiasts.

They criticized Canon for the lack of diversity in its campaign, particularly the lack of recognition of women and non-binary photographers in the ambassadorship and in the field of photography in the Philippines.

Following the backlash, Canon Philippines issued a clarification on social media.

It stated that it abides by the philosophy of “Kyosei,” which means “living and working together for the common good.”

Canon Marketing Philippines Inc., supports camera enthusiasts and content creators regardless of gender, culture, customs, language, or race,” the brand said.

Its brand ambassadorship is “continuously growing and always welcomes more members who are interested and committed.”