By Javier Joe Ismael and Christina Alpad | The Manila Times
FORMER senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Saturday defended embattled celebrity Toni Gonzaga against her online bashers following the publication of his one-on-one interview with the actress-turned-vlogger this week.
On Monday, September 13, Gonzaga published an interview with her wedding godfather on her YouTube Channel, "Toni Gonzaga Studio," in time for Marcos' birthday. Titled "The Greatest Lesson Bongbong Marcos Learned from His Father," the episode has earned 3.9 million views as of this writing.
A few days after the premiere of the video, The Ateneo Martial Law Museum on its Facebook account released an open letter to Gonzaga.
"Your show has contributed to the Marcos family's attempts to whitewash their human rights violations and its proven historical record," the Facebook post reads, which also invited Gonzaga to "instead talk to the victims and surviving families of the Martial Law regime."
Gonzaga remained silent on the issue.
"I was surprised as to why they attacked Toni; she is only doing her job. She is a vlogger. She is interviewing everybody. She is not favoring anyone. You can see that she is interviewing different people. It was only when she interviewed me that they reacted like that," Marcos said in a radio interview.
Marcos noted that attempts at "canceling" Gonzaga seemed to have backfired because the episode featuring him earned more than 200,000 likes and the vlogger's number of subscribers even grew by 100,000.
Cancel culture, also known as mass shaming on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, is a modern form of boycotting an individual, is often a celebrity or public figure who is deemed to have committed a questionable act.
"They seem to be few in numbers, and nobody agrees with them because when they called netizens to cancel their likes on her Facebook live, the number was only 10,000. When they started the call to cancel, it grew to 200,000 plus. We saw that people support what she is doing. Her subscribers grew by 100,000," Marcos said.
Marcos said the incident was just another attack on the Marcoses.
"There are groups ready to criticize whatever a Marcos would say. That is the job of some people. But why are they doing this to Toni? She's a Vlogger not a journalist although I have to say she has done a better job than some journalists. She is very good at getting information, background and stories that others missed. She is really good and very pleasant to talk with," Marcos said.
The former senator said it is not right to dictate to Gonzaga what to feature in her show.
"Are they responsible? Are they looking for the truth as much as Toni Gonzaga was? I don't know. You cannot dictate to her what content to put in her channel - that is her channel - her rules. Someone quoted me once when I said: 'Do not let your hate overwhelm your humanity' - and this is a perfect example. What we need is unity because we are in the middle of a crisis," Marcos added.
Marcos lashed out at critics accusing him of historical revisionism particularly on the reign of his late father, former president Ferdinand Marcos.
"If you do not like what I am saying, stop watching me. I am not uttering any lies. They (Marcoses' critics) are saying many things that I know are lies. They should not tell me how to share my experience with my father - that is already too much. That is my experience with my father. That is the truth. People who were close to him will attest to his character - that he is really like that. The peddling of hate, what do we get from that? What we need now is to unite the country and address the pandemic, economy, those who are sick. We really need to help one another instead of being divided," Marcos said.