By Christian Paul Del Rosario | Manila Bulletin
With the rising number of YouTubers nowadays, one must know how to brand themselves through content. But for me, genuine content will always catch my attention—those contents with sense, true stories, and a straightforward approach.
The country’s Ultimate Multimedia Star, Toni Gonzaga-Soriano, is one of the most sought-after new Youtube content creators because of her authenticity in interviewing different personalities like Dra. Vicky Belo and Hayden Kho, Raffy Tulfo, Atty. Chel Diokno, Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Grace Poe, Vice President Leni Robredo, and more.
Her Youtube channel started in January 2019 with personal and family vlog content. She later branded herself through the Toni Talks segment nine months later.
But just a few days ago, the social media was abuzz with Toni Gonzaga-Soriano’s interview with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM). It is never strange to the Filipinos that Bongbong is the son of the infamous dictator, the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
With the trending Youtube content of the celebrity host, Toni tackled the most important lessons Bongbong learned from his father. The published video was not received by some netizens wholeheartedly because of the atrocious history committed by his family.
This issue gained some positive and negative reactions in the online world. Some say that BBM is just showing an excellent façade of his family, while others say it’s just a personal interview and nothing to worry about.
Toni was called in different names with this online issue— a Marcos apologist, enabler, whitewasher, and history revisionist. Some news articles even mentioned that she was not aware of the vast responsibility she’s carrying as a celebrity and an influencer, given that the national election is fast approaching.
The anti-Marcoses felt betrayed because Toni gave a platform to save the face of the dictator’s family. These people believed that she lacked the sense of history because the interview might conceal the unpleasant martial law history.
The netizens were angry about Toni’s taking the issue lightly while sharing the content with her four million followers. They said that it was not an issue of who she was going to interview, but it’s the fact that she is giving an almost 30-minute talk to a dictator’s son. Thus, a chance to cleanse the family’s mess.
While on Twitter, several accounts campaigned to dislike and report the BBM interview content to show disgust and disappointment.
The celebrity host was also invited and challenged by the Ateneo Martial Law Museum to interview the victims of the military government through a Facebook open letter. As noted in the letter, it would be more inspiring to hear the stories and struggles of the survivors relating to the viewers than interviewing any of the Marcos family members. Hence, we must be thankful to those victims who sacrificed their lives for us to live under a democracy.
Despite the online noise made by the anti-Marcos netizens, there are many wins on the said issue.
When Toni uploaded her interview with BBM, the Youtube video gained 4.5 million views in five days. And suppose you compare it to VP Leni’s video, which gained 1.4 million views in two weeks and 3.1 million views for Mayor Isko Moreno in three weeks. In that case, BBM’s video is obviously performing better.
A FaceBook post of Franco Mabanta as shared by the author on his FB page. “Leni with a very impressive 1.3 million views in two weeks; BBM with 3.6 million views in just four days.”
BBM’s interview content has an average of 900,000 views per day, while Leni and Isko have 100,000 and 148,000 views per day, respectively. And looking at the “like” and “dislike” counter, BBM’s video is at 459,000 likes and 54,000 dislikes, VP Leni is at 72,000 likes and 36,000 dislikes, and Mayor Isko at 113,000 likes and 9,900 dislikes.
Toni’s Youtube channel also acquired around 190,000 new subscribers since September 13, 2021, with an average of 38,000 new daily subscribers and putting her estimated earnings at approximately $1,402- $22,300 (PHP 70,100- PHP1.1M).
“When your hatred towards a celebrity (just for interviewing BBM) brought more than 100k subscribers in a span of four days.”
Many of Toni Gonzaga’s friends and colleagues defended her from the bashers with the likes of Bianca Gonzalez, Chiz Escudero, Ogie Diaz, and Cristy Fermin.
Moreover, many netizens continue to support Toni because they believe that the interview with BBM was wholesome. And you can prove it through the number of followers and video views on her Youtube channel.
The cancel culture towards the celebrity host reminds me of her interview with Wil Dasovich. She said, “I don’t categorize the people I interview. I look at all of them as people who have stories to tell no matter how bad a person is, no matter how good a person is, no matter how canceled a person is by society, every single person on this planet has a powerful story to tell. And no matter how bad their story is, we can always learn from that person.”
The hatred towards Toni Gonzaga-Soriano brought so many victories in just a few days. In this case, the people with pure intentions and good actions always win.
Christian Paul Del Rosario is the Acquisitions Marketing Manager of the Asian Institute of Management. He is a graduate of Master of Marketing Communications in De La Salle University and currently a Doctor of Business Administration student of the Ateneo de Davao University