Senators: Pinoy Big Brother ‘crossed the line’

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"PINOY Big Brother (PBB) crossed the line."

This was the assertion of Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate committee on women, family relations and gender relations, in reference to the June 4 episode of the reality television show where two female housemates were challenged to pose nude for an art painting.

"I am dismayed that one of the challenges was for the female housemates to pose nude," added the senator, a staunch women's advocate and principal author of the Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act 9710).


The senator said the challenge was an "insult to dignity of the women."

"Asking a woman to consider posing nude in such a situation – where her acceptance to perform the challenge is made in exchange for points or benefits for herself or her housemates – is tantamount to coercion," she said.

"In their desire to challenge and teach the contestants life lessons, they should be conscious of the rights of the housemates and know the limits when assigning tasks that could end up degrading women and trampling on their dignity. In this case, they crossed the line," she added.

Cayetano agreed with the position of the Philippine Commission on Women, which first raised this issue, that there is nothing wrong about women who pose nude for art, as long as the decision is voluntary.

"Clearly this was not the case with housemate Jayme Jalandoni, who was under pressure to follow the instructions of Kuya in order not to be meted sanctions. To make things worse, the bargaining between Jayme and Kuya happened on national television in full view of the public," the senator said.

"We must take note that aside from Jayme, another female housemate, Michelle Gumabao was also forced into accepting the nude painting challenge. Even if their team eventually backed out, the violation had been done," she added.

Cayetano said PBB producers should take note of the Magna Carta of Women (Sec.19, Implementing Rules and Regulations), which encourages the non-derogatory portrayal of women in media.

"The program's producers need not wait for the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to take action. It should give a public explanation and apologize for that unwarranted challenge," she said.

Senator Nancy Binay echoed the same, saying she is set to file a resolution on the issue within the week and believes that the MTRCB should look into possible ethical breach committed by PBB "All-In Edition".

"This might be a reality show but its contestants, especially its female housemates, should be accorded with respect without compromising their dignity and their rights as women," Binay said.

The senator said that MTRCB should review the PBB's rule book and the Code of Conduct and the Ethical Standards that govern the Endemol franchise.

"I believe this is the second time PBB went overboard. How far can reality TV go for high ratings? Will we allow the network to exploit our women and children for ratings sake?" asked Binay.

According to the senator, the MTRCB should look into the policies of ABS-CBN and Endemol when it comes to challenges and tasks that potentially violate the housemates' rights and dignity, as well as those that challenge one's faith, corrupt Filipino values, or degrade cultural mores.

"Did Endemol and ABS-CBN go out of line with this particular challenge? Hanggang saan po ba ang pwedeng ipagawa ni Kuya sa mga housemates at parang pati dangal nila ay kailangang isakripisyo?" Binay asked.

"All the tasks and challenges are part of the script which are approved by the PBB Management prior to execution. The responsibility does not solely fall on Kuya's lap--kasama sa daloy ng script ang management at buong production team," the senator said.

Binay added that PBB's nude challenge to housemates is not to test one's character, rather an irresponsible and insensitive act bordering on blackmail.

"Housemates give their blind trust to Kuya. The PBB Management should be sensitive when it comes to faith, ethnicity and morality. Tumanggi na si Jayme dahil ito ay labag sa kanyang paniniwala at sa tingin niya ay mababastos siya... dapat noon pa lang, na-realize na ni Kuya na may mali sa challenge na ito," she noted.

In 2009, PBB had been entangled in a similar morality and decency issue in its "Naked Fan Dance" challenge where the housemates were made to wear flimsy underwear to cover their private parts. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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