Manila slams US TV show for negative portrayal of president

A fictional Philippine president getting a bloody nose from the US secretary of state after he tries to make a sexual advance.
A fictional Philippine president getting a bloody nose from the US secretary of state after he tries to make a sexual advance.SCREENGRABS: YOUTUBE
A fictional Philippine president getting a bloody nose from the US secretary of state after he tries to make a sexual advance.
A fictional Philippine president getting a bloody nose from the US secretary of state after he tries to make a sexual advance.SCREENGRABS: YOUTUBE

MANILA • Manila yesterday "strongly protested" against an American television drama for showing a fictional Philippine president making a sexual advance on the US secretary of state.

In the trailer for the latest edition of Madam Secretary, the lead character punches "the Philippines' unconventional new president" in the face and gives him a bloody nose in reaction to his unwanted pass. "I clobbered a world leader instead of saving a major regional agreement," the secretary of state says.

The Philippine embassy in Washington released a statement saying it had written to the producers of the show, the CBS network, to urgently request it "take the necessary corrective actions".

"This highly negative portrayal of our Head of State not only casts doubt on the respectability of the Office of the Philippine President but also denigrates (the) way our nation navigates foreign affairs," the statement added.

While the description for the trailer used a fictional name for the Philippine president, the embassy said the show mirrored current events.

The real Philippine President, Mr Rodrigo Duterte, has previously caused controversy with comments perceived to have been sexist and offensive.

During last year's presidential campaign, the Australian and American ambassadors in Manila criticised Mr Duterte for saying he wanted to rape a "beautiful" Australian missionary who had been murdered in a prison riot.

Mr Duterte, 71, reacted angrily to the criticism, saying the remarks had been misinterpreted.

He also boasted on the campaign trail about having two mistresses but added that the women would not cost taxpayers much because he kept them at cheap boarding houses and took them to by-the-hour hotels for sex.

The President has also been criticised for wolf-whistling at a woman journalist at a press conference and joking about looking at his female Vice-President's legs.

His spokesman, Mr Ernesto Abella, criticised the show yesterday, while making an apparent reference to womanising American leaders.

"I think they are projecting something they would really like to say about their own situation. I think they should use a fictional US president," Mr Abella told reporters.

"It's their business. It's their craft. You cannot deny them their craft, their taste perhaps."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'Manila slams US TV show for negative portrayal of president'. Print Edition | Subscribe