Producers of the reality show Pinoy Big Brother Kumunity Season 10 have addressed the alleged sexual harassment issue involving celebrity housemates TJ Valderrama and Shanaia Gomez.
In the Monday, November 22 episode, host Toni Gonzaga said that they were aware that the issue had become a trending topic on social media.
Prior to the episode, netizens had posted videos of Valderrama touching Gomez, claiming that the male housemate should be force-evicted for his “inappropriate actions.”
Gabriela Women’s Party has also reacted to the trending PBB issue. In a statement released on Saturday, November 20, Gabriela reminded the public that “unsolicited touching and physical contact, even in the context of friendship or even relationship, can be a form of sexual harassment.”
“Matindi ang akusasyon na sinasabi ng online world kay TJ pero ano nga ba ang totoong saloobin ng mga housemates patungkol sa mga pangyayaring ito? (The online world made grave accusations against TJ, but how are the housemates really feeling about this issue?)” Gonzaga asked.
The male and female housemates were then seen entering the confession room separately. While Big Brother did not mention the issue that was going viral online, he asked the housemates about how affectionate they were with each other and who they were most comfortable with.
19-year-old Gomez named 35-year-old Valderrama and comedian Brenda Mage as the most “caring” housemates. “They always come to the rescue. Parang kuya na po sila para sa akin (They’re like brothers to me),” she said.
Big Brother then reminded the housemates that they were public figures and to be wary of their actions. “Sana lang ay maging maingat kayo kung paano niyo pinapakita ang appreciation niyo para sa isa’t-isa. Dahil minsan, maaaring hindi ito maintindihan, lalo na kung hindi nila alam ang buong konteksto nito,” he said.
(I hope that you’ll be more careful with how you show your appreciation for each other, because sometimes, others might misinterpret it, especially if they’re not aware of the full context.)
The rest of the housemates, led by beauty queen Samantha Bernardo, then agreed that they should set “healthy boundaries” while inside the house.
Following the episode, PBB also released a statement on their social media platforms to address the issue. “Ang harassment ay isang bagay na hindi palalagpasin ni Kuya kailanman lalo na’t kung ito ay may patunay. Ngunit mismong mga housemates na ang nagsabi na walang anumang nagaganap na ganito sa loob ng bahay,” it read.
(Harassment is not something that Big Brother would ever tolerate, especially if there’s evidence of it. However, even the housemates agree that no such thing is happening inside the house.)
They also encouraged the viewers and supporters to be more responsible in discerning the information they consume online and to avoid judging people without proper context and information.
Valderrama’s girlfriend, Cherry Malaya, however, was not happy about how the show addressed the issue. “Porke gumawa kayo ng episode to explain ‘yung ‘closeness’ [nina] Shania at TJ, magiging ok na lahat? (So now that you’ve released a video explaining Shania and TJ’s closeness, you think everything will be okay?)” she asked.
“The damage has already been done! There’s no way you can fix this,” she continued, saying that she has no plans of meeting the staff of the show and will just talk to Valderrama instead.
This is not the first time for the reality show to face harassment issues. In their 2019 Pinoy Big Brother: Otso edition, housemate Banjo Dangalan was force-evicted after making several “jokes” about raping his fellow housemate Gino Roque.
Pinoy Big Brother Kumunity Season 10 is the 16th edition of the show. It sees celebrities, ranging from established actors, social media influencers, athletes, and rising personalities, living together in one house. – Rappler.com