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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bela Padilla Talks About Her 'Racist' FHM Cover on BBC News; FHM Releases Statement

Bela Padilla Talks About Her 'Racist' FHM Cover on BBC News; FHM Releases Statement

The controversial cover photo of FHM Philippines Magazine March 2012 issue with sexy young actress Bela Padilla sorrounded by black women on the cover is now getting worldwide attention that international news agency BBC News got interested in it.

Despite FHM Philippines' decision to recall the said issue due to 'racist' claim by some, it is still the subject of debate and hot topics on social networking sites.

BBC News' Mishal Hussain of BBC Impact aired last night, February 28, an interview with Padilla saying the cover photo has no intention of discriminating any race.

Here is an excerpt of the said interview:

Mishal: When you saw that picture of you and the black model behind you and 'stepping out of the shadows,' it didn't ring any alarm bells to you?

Bela: "Honestly, I saw the picture before I saw the layout page with the caption. So I was as shocked as everyone when I saw the caption. But if the people get to read the article there, then you would understand why FHM chose that caption."

Mishal: Did you think when you, first of all, saw this, you were surrounded by black models, was there nothing in that thing that makes you think or gave you clues on how would this might end up?

Bela: "You have to understand that we took the shot because it's my coming of age here in the Philippines.

I'm an actress here and we're trying to change my image from the younger bracket to an older one. So they wanted to me to come into a 'coming of age' sort of article that's why they chose that caption. We weren't trying to hurt anyone from the caption."

When asked about the negative reaction of some people to her controversial cover photo, the Kapuso actress replied, "First of all, I wanted to say sorry to everyone who's offended by the cover. You have to see the article to understand the cover that we shot.
Honestly, some of those girls were actually Filipinas painted in black, not to represent Africans, but we were really doing that to portray shadows because, like I said, it's my coming of age. They wanted a symbolization of me getting out of my old shadow. So, they were all supposed to represent me. And we weren't thinking of harming anyone and we weren't thinking of racial discrimination."

Mishal: Some people might think that it would be more offensive that some people in that shoot, the Filipinas, were painted black.

Bela: "Honestly, when I see a black person, I don't initially think of a certain race because we also have black Filipinos.

We didn't really think of harming anyone when we did that shoot. So, again, I want to say sorry to anyone who was offended. FHM has recalled the issue and we're releasing a new cover. So, I hope everyone will just forget about this."

Did she regrets doing the cover photo for FHM, Bela replied: "Uhm, I honestly don't know how to answer that. I was just called for the shoot. I didn't have any idea that it would be blown up this big. "I had no intention of hurting anyone neither did FHM Philippines.
"I actually don't regret it. It was a beautiful photo. But if it did hurt anyone, then I am sorry."

Following the negative reactions about the controversial cover photo, FHM not only decided to immediately change the cover, they also released a statement last February 27 which reads:

On Saturday, February 25, we uploaded the March issue with Bela Padilla on the cover on our Facebook page.

Just hours later, a slew of comments on the supposed "racism" of the cover image and cover line flooded the magazine page, prompting the editorial team to re-examine the cover so that we could put into context its execution and assuage the concerns of our readers and non-readers as well who've weighed in on the issue.

We took all the points into consideration and have decided to take the side of sensitivity.

When FHM hits the stands in March it will have a different cover. We deem this to be the most prudent move in the light of the confusion over the previous cover execution.

We apologize and thank those who have raised their points. We apologize to Bela Padilla for any distress this may have caused her.

In our pursuit to come up with edgier covers, we will strive to be more sensitive next time."

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