Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Too close to home? Philippines protest portrayal of Filipino president

In Madam Secretary, the Philippine president (Joel de la Fuente) with the U.S. Secretary of State (Tea Leoni).

AN EPISODE of the CBS show Madam Secretary might have hit too close for comfort for some Philippine government officials.

In Sunday's (March 12) episode of the political drama in which Tea Leoni plays U.S. Secretary of State Elizabeth McCoy, she visits the Philippines president Andrade portrayed by Joel de la Fuente, taking a break from his regular series, Man In The High Castle. During their meeting, Andrade grabs the U.S. Secretary's rear end and she turns around and wallops him giving him a black eye and a bloody nose.

The depiction of the Philippine president wasn't based on a real person but it was close enough that the Philippine embassy in Washington wrote to CBS saying that the fictional President's portrayal "denigrates that way our nation navigates foreign affairs" and "tarnishes the Philippines' long-standing advocacy for women's rights and gender equality."

Uh, are we talking about President Rodrigo Duterte, the current Philippine President?

This is the same President Duterte who i
n 1989 as mayor of Davao City was talking about Australian national Jacqueline Hamill who was raped and killed during a riot at the prison where she worked in the southern Philippines’ Davao City. Duterte.

“They raped all of the women ... There was this Australian lay minister ... when they took them out ... I saw her face and I thought: ‘Son of a bitch. what a pity ... they raped her, they all lined up. I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, the mayor should have been first,” Duterte told the crowd, according to Agence France-Presse.

Afterwards, instead of apologizing Duterte said, "That's the way men talk."

I thought the episode was more a commentary on egotistical strongmen in general. The writers were hoping that the U.S. audience would pick up that  it was more a reference to the current U.S.  president than the Philippines'. Remember how Mr. Trump bragged about grabbing women's genitals using "locker room" talk? Leoni admitted as much in her tweet.