Jollibee and its ad agency Gigil denied discriminating against actors that have starred in Boys Love (BL) shows in a supposed casting call circulating online.
The fast food giant came under fire on May 18, after actress Teetin Villanueva posted a screenshot of a message explicitly excluding actors that worked on BL shows – whose rising popularity is slowly opening up mainstream viewers to LGBTQ+ narratives.
After Teetin's post, various accounts posted screenshots of different casting calls for Jollibee with the same discriminatory provision that read "Make sure na ang mga talents ay hindi gumawa ng BL series (make sure the talents were not part of a BL series)."
Jollibee was then called out by LGBTQ+ organization Metro Manila Pride in a statement saying "discrimination against actors who have chosen to take part in this gradual but no less important cultural shift is malicious and harmful to LGBTQIA+ actors and their livelihoods, especially in the midst of an ongoing pandemic."
Jollibee denied that they issued guidelines against BL actors.
"Consistent with our valies and ethical standards, JFC has not issued any directives or guidelines that is [sic] discriminatory in nature. We treat everyone with respect and recognize the value of each individual," they said in a May 18 statement posted on Twitter.
They also said that they are taking necessary steps to prevent similar incidents that misrepresent their company.
Replying to Jollibee's tweet, their ad agency Gigil shared a similar statement, saying "JFC never gave us any directions to exclude talents who have appeared in BL materials. Neither have they given any other discriminatory instructions."
"We also did not issue any direction to any of our production partners to do the same," they said.
The agency said that they will be taking steps to make sure that they only work with production houses and casters that don't tolerate discrimination. They also reiterated their support for the LGBTQ+ community. – Rappler.com