LGBT actors should be allowed to play the roles in shows about their community’s stories, advocates conveyed to ABS-CBN’s “Maalala Mo Kaya” producers following an online backlash relating to its upcoming episode.
The episode feature the love story of queer vloggers Tina Boado and Roanne Carreon this Saturday, February 27.
Kaya bang unawain ng puso ang hindi naiintindihan ng isip?
Abangan ang napapanahong kwento tungkol sa pag-ibig at mental health ngayong Sabado kasama si Nathalie Hart at Jane Oineza sa #MMKwentongRoTin
MMK | 9PM sa Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, iWant TFC at A2Z CH11 pic.twitter.com/pBAPPvd3wi
— MMKOfficial (@MMKOfficial) February 24, 2021
Nathalie Hart, who plays the character of Boado, issued a remark that hurt the couple and some members of the LGBT community online ahead of the premiere.
At a public forum on February 22, she expressed that her portrayal for that project was her most difficult to date.
Hart further expressed how discomforted she was while shooting intimate scenes with Jane Oineza, who played as “Carreon.”
“Medyo nahirapan ako. Ang hirap mag-internalize. Kasi when I look at her eyes, I can’t feel the love. Pero I have to do it, kasi nakakahiya na with the director and my co-actor,” Hart said.
She said that she tried her best and was confident that she gave justice to it.
“It’s my first time to play a lesbian role. I’m very excited na nagawa ko siya at nalunok ko yung role na ito. I think I gave justice to the role,” Hart said.
Hart’s admission over her difficulties in portraying her character reached Boado and Carreon. Boado took screenshots of local reports that quoted the actress and attached them in a tweet on February 24.
Calling Hart a “homophobe,” Boado expressed her frustration over the depiction of her story in mainstream media. “Sorry kung hindi mo maasiwa yung katiboan ko ha. Our story deserves better. Queer stories deserve better,” wrote the YouTuber.
Nothing more frustrating than having your love story depicted on mainstream media, only for you to find out later on that a homophobe played your role.
Sorry kung hindi mo maasiwa yung katiboan ko ha.
— Tina B. #MMKwentongRoTin Feb. 27 🌈 (@inaurner) February 24, 2021
Hart immediately responded and apologized on Thursday, February 24 via Instagram. She noted that her remarks were “taken out of context.”
“Hello, guys! My close friends and family know how much I love gay people. I’m sorry if I offended the LGBTQ community for the remarks I made which were taken out of context,” she said.
“I regret my actions and I truly apologize to the people I have offended. I’m truly sorry,” she added.
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Better representation in film
Juan Miguel Severo, an actor and screenwriter, had a message for the MMK production team in a series of tweets on the same day.
Severo suggested that more actors from the LGBTQ community should be asked to play characters in mainstream roles.
“Please, please, please, prods! Kung hindi ninyo kayang mag-cast ng mga miyembro ng LGBTQIA community, observe due diligence man lang to make sure that these actors are aligned with the politics and the message of your story,” he said.
Severo also criticized how insensitive Hart was in the interview.
“Bakit kamo importante? Exactly because of how stupidly insensitive she was in that interview! Especially, MMK! She portrayed an actual person! Her lack of empathy (an actor without empathy!) in that statement only furthers the notion that our identity is merely a performance!” he said.
Rod Singh, an indie screenwriter, echoed this view and expressed disappointment that the project would have been a great opportunity to represent them better.
“Considering that we have a long way to go in terms of representation, isang malaking hakbang sana ito lalo na sa mga kuwentong lesbiyana, at nakakalungkot na naibigay pa ito sa isang aktres na hindi na nga isinapuso, pinandirihan pa,” Singh said.
In the thread, he added: “Nakakalungkot at nakakagalit kapag ang espasyong pinahihiram sa mga str8 actors, na bukod sa pag-ganap ay titindig sa pulitika ng materyal, ay hindi pinapahalagahan at sa kasamaang palad ay binabastos pa.”
Carreon said that the MMK producers reached out to them and promised to improve their work.
“Sobrang heartbreaking nito para sa amin dahil manifestation ito ng realidad natin. MMK team reached out to us and promised to do better. Let’s take this opportunity to educate, raise awareness, and create more allies. #MMKwentongRoTin,” she said.