A history of toxic femininity at Philippine media giant ABS-CBN


The explosive tale of the toxic behaviour of of ABS-CBN “reporter” Doris Bigornia is on fire but, unfortunately, this is just the most recent instance of inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour in the chequered history of the Philippines’ biggest media conglomerate. The case of Bigornia, by itself, is quite extensive. Aside from her reported altercation with MMDA Spokeswoman Celine Pialago where Bigornia allegedly “shouted at” and “struck” the earlier, Bigornia was also the subject of an incident reported on a Facebook post in 2015 by Richard Lim who, described there the appalling behaviour of Bigornia and her daughter Nikki Bigornia at a concert.

Lim recounted how he confronted Bigornia and daughter who were standing at the front of a seated audience in a concert, refusing to comply to requests to return to their seats.

I went back and ask her politely again “mam favor lang nahihilo na ang anak ko baka pwede naman tumabi na kayo para gumaya yung iba” and Doris replied “WALA AKONG PAKI KAHIT MAMATAY SYA DYAN”. I was shocked! I was not expecting that kind of an answer from a so called media personality who runs a show titled “MUTYA NG MASA”. I wanted to keep my cool, so I replied and said “ganyan ba kayong mga taga media, sa TV lang matino, sa totoong buhay eh wala palang pakiaalam.” I was shouting because it was noisy and telling her that as a celebrity she should be the one showing good example, but to my dismay she just didn’t react. As if we were not there.

Before this, there was the sensational case of ABS-CBN News anchor Gretchen Fullido who, in late 2018, was embroiled in a harrassment scandal involving ABS-CBN executives. Transcripts of text messages received by Fullido obtained by the Manila Times revealed the toxic culture that permeated the organisation…

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“What time are you coming to work? (Fullido: On the way to [ABS-CBN] now. What’s up?) Wala naman. Miss lang kita. Masama ba? Sungit.” (Nothing. I miss you. Is that wrong? Crabby.) “Kailangan mo rin ng konting lambing sa katawan.” (You need some tenderness in your body.)

Fullido’s case has, in fact, progressed and her case against ABS-CBN executives Cheryl Favila and Maricar Asprec has reportedly been elevated to the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court. Evidently, this is something the news desk at ABS-CBN News deems not newsworthy enough to be “reported”. Fortunately, the Manila Standard was up to the task and filed this report on the 6th of June 2019.

The prosecutor’s office, in an information, said the duo violated Republic Act 7877 or An Act Declaring Sexual Harassment Unlawful in the Employment, Education or Training Environment, and for Other Purposes.

The lower court has yet to determine the recommended bail.

Based on court records, Favila, Ecosystem Integrated News and Current Affairs Department head, and Asprec, segment producer, repeatedly asked for sexual favors from Fullido in 2015 until 2017.

According to Fullido, Favila was exercising “authority, influence or moral ascendancy” over her.

Favila was accused of asking Fullido to be her “Thursday Girl ,” and that the TV executive would even text the TV host with messages of sexual undertones.

For her part, Jeline Malasig in her report on the same subject published in the news site Interaksyon on the 10th of June called it “a welcome development for #MeToo advocates against harassment.”

There is likely to be a bigger rot festering within the corporate culture of ABS-CBN that needs to be addressed. This is considering the ironic fact that females seem to be well-represented in its executive suites with no less than Charo Santos leading it as its CEO. The company has also been cited by various bodies for its work encouraging women’s participation in upper management. It is a “media partner” of the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN), a “non-profit international advocacy organization that seeks to increase the power of Filipina women as leaders and policy makers in all sectors in society to achieve economic and social justice and women’s rights”. ABS-CBN’s channel for overseas Filipinos, TFC, hosted that organisation’s Global Summit in London in 2018.

All this flashy pandering to feminist ideals only further highlights the ingrained hypocrisy and dishonesty prevalent in the corporate culture of ABS-CBN which, evidently could also be contributing to the tainting of the broader feminist movement in the Philippines.

One Reply to “A history of toxic femininity at Philippine media giant ABS-CBN”

  1. Maybe there are more unreported cases of bad behaviors in the ABS CBN. The smell of the rot in the corporation is just beginning to come out. Sexual harassments; assaults and other outright bad behaviors.

    ABS CBN is owned by the Lopez family. The Lopezes are beneficiaries of the Aquinos, when the Aquinos were in power. There is a reliable information, that the Lopezes incurred debts of billions of pesos from the Development Bank of the Philippines. And they have not been paying for the DBP loan, ever since. It is because they are “malakas” with the Aquinos.

    The owners of the ABS CBN are scammers. Their media corporation is being used as a propaganda machine of the Aquinos to further their political agendas. This is reflected in the corporate culture of the media corporation.

    What is rotten within, is rotten without !

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