On Alex Gonzaga and the need to call out abominable behavior
It’s hard to completely support “cancel culture,” as an erring person could redeem him/herself by being sincerely remorseful over a forgivable wrongdoing and then change for the better. However, I realized from the public’s reaction to actress-vlogger Alex Gonzaga recently the merits of “call out culture.”
Displeased with Gonzaga myself, I was satisfied with the massive censure she received online, which may have prompted her to personally apologize to the hapless waiter, Allan Crisostomo, on whose forehead she disrespectfully smeared icing right after she blew the candles on her birthday cake.
There are public figures—including but not limited to showbiz celebrities, public officials, vloggers, and social media personalities—who get carried away by their fame and thus feel invincible. They think they can behave however they like, throwing their weight around, putting on airs, and not according “ordinary people” as much respect as they would those they consider as equals. It does not help when the kind of posse they have are “yes” people, and a lot of their online followers condone some of the off-putting things that they say and do.
Consider another video from some years ago that has resurfaced recently: It shows Gonzaga staring at Pia Wurtzbach’s bosom and nonchalantly poking it with her finger during a TV interview. Wurtzbach may have sportingly laughed it off on-cam before she resumed talking to the hosts, but there’s no question that Gonzaga crossed boundaries. Not to begrudge Gonzaga her fan base, but reading the comments section was disappointing as there were netizens who took delight in what she did, which they found endearingly uninhibited and naughty (pilya). Never mind Wurtzbach as a Miss Universe; a person should know his/her limits and respect others’ personal space and bodies, regardless of their status.
Similarly, some netizens still came to Gonzaga’s defense even after she already apologized on Twitter for the icing incident, which they insist was just lighthearted fun. They sadly failed (or refuse) to see the power imbalance between her and Crisostomo.
This is why it’s important to collectively call out misdeeds, especially of the rich, famous, and powerful. In this day and age, many public figures brazenly display abominable behavior, which unfortunately receives encouragement from their fans and followers who tend to be blind to or excessively forgiving of their faults. This permissiveness is alarming, because it could lead to abuse and oppression in the long run. Hence, it should be stopped.
Call out culture is not intended to bash, crush, or cancel anyone into complete oblivion, but to make a person rectify his/her errant ways. Therefore, let’s continue to call out the wrongdoings, not just of showbiz and social media personalities, but also of government officials whose job it is to serve us, their constituents, uprightly. After all, their actions (or inactions) and decisions as public servants directly affect our lives as citizens.
Claude Lucas C.
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