Two foreign vloggers engage in a public word war about the so-called exploitation of poverty in the Philippines.
Australian doctor Doc Adam who advocates against medical misinformation in the country threw the accusations at vlogger Basel Manadil or The Hungry Syrian Wanderer last weekend.
Both are influential on video platforms. Doc Adam has 1.96 million subscribers on YouTube. Meanwhile, the Hungry Syrian Wanderer has 4.46 million subscribers.
The exchange of strong remarks started after the controversy involving the learning platform Nas Academy, initiated by Palestinian-Israeli vlogger Nuseir Yassin or Nas Daily early this August.
The social media firestorm prompted discussions on cultural exploitation and baiting of Filipinos, particularly poor Filipinos, for content traffic.
The video in question
In a Facebook post on August 14, Doc Adam Smith or Doc Adam expressed his thoughts about an old video of Manadil where he featured an old man who nearly died of hunger.
The video was released on March 31, 2020, which was also the same month Metro Manila was placed under enhanced community quarantine.
In the video, Manadil shared that he first saw the old man from a viral social media post. He then tried to find him, later providing him free food and drinks.
What the doctor said
It’s not certain what prompted Doc Adam to comment on it after more than a year of posting.
The Australian doctor, however, was not pleased by it.
“I really don’t like this kind of video, to me it’s exploitation! Yes, the old man got some food but what did he lose? And what did Hungry Syrian gain? Hungry Syrian gained 2 million views, YouTube ad revenue ($3,000-6,000), fame, subscribers and hero status,” wrote Doc Adam.
“The old man gained some food but lost dignity,” he added.
Doc Adam also alleged that the vlogger only helps Filipinos as a way to produce content and attract traffic.
“If you want to help, HELP. But you don’t need to film it all and show everyone that you are helping. I see 40 patients a day, I help them but I don’t film it and show everyone,” he said.
What the Hungry Syrian Wanderer said
Manadil took a hit over the doctor’s post. He expressed a long rant against the latter whom he described as “doc kwak kwak” or a quack doctor.
The Syrian-turned-Filipino citizen specifically addressed the doctor’s now-deleted video where the latter supposedly “defamed” him.
“What about you? You give lessons yeah, and then starts [sic] criticizing your fellow creators, you want fame also this way right? And oh earnings! Since the video you posted defaming me, you deleted it RIGHT AWAY HAHAHA because it has a song copyright strike,” Manadil said.
“You even mentioned you will fix it first before re-uploading it, meaning you care about the monetize (MONEY) of that video. SINO MAS MUKHANG PERA SA ATING DALAWA?” he added.
Manadil also questioned the purpose of reacting to the video clip uploaded during the first lockdown.
He explained that most of the people he featured in his channel also came from videos and photos social media users had sent to him.
“Most of the people I helped are from netizens, meaning they send me videos or people whom I can help and their locations. And this particular video, someone sent me that video kaya nga may credits yung video di ba?! All I did is to help him and to show people na, yung pinost nila na hinahanapan ng tulong natulungan na. Sending positivity during difficult time,” the vlogger said.
He ended the statement to stress that this will be the last time he will respond to the doctor in a harsh manner.
“I never knew who you are before, but nice meeting you! I was gonna send you some GCash donations but well, I’ll send it to someone deserving!” Manadil said.
A letter to the Philippines from the doctor
While he did not mention Manadil, Doc Adam shared a letter on social media about “poverty porn” in entertainment.
He also attached an article in his post where his followers and subscribers can brush up over the type of exploitative material.
POVERTY PORN = EXPLOITATION pic.twitter.com/SNeGFVTuEi
— Doc Adam (@docadamsmith) August 15, 2021