Billy and Coleen’s ‘pre-wedding photos’ spark debate
It’s true that a picture paints a thousand words that is why we have got a lot of things to learn about Billy Crawford and Coleen Garcia’s ‘prenup shoot,’ and one of them is that most Filipinos are quick to judge, too sensitive, and hilarious.
As soon as the photos taken in Ethiopia of the soon to be married couple reached the Internet, Billy and Coleen were bombarded with criticism. Netizens took to social media calling the prenup shoot out for being distasteful, “politically incorrect,” and racist. Some even said they were offensive as they highlight the couple for their being “privileged whites” (or half-whites for that matter).
On Monday, the couple cleared the issue about using the women and kids in the photos taken by Metro Photos. In a joint statement sent to ABS-CBN, the couple said they were invited by Ethiopian Airlines to do the shoot in Ethiopia as part of a tourism campaign.
The photos were not yet the official prenup photos because they have yet another prenup shoot that will take place in the Philippines. It’s good to note that they already had a prenup shoot in Thailand and photos were released in January.
The couple explained that the photos were taken based on the suggestion of a local guide, who was present throughout the entire duration of the shoot and their leisure time in Ethiopia.
“He took us around and made suggestions for the shoot, such as including the priests of Lalibela in our photos because they want people to see. We based our layouts off of some of their suggestions,” they said.
The couple further said that the locals were so kind, warm and welcoming, and they loved meeting tourists. And as for the children showed in the photos, they were in the area and wanted to be part of the shoot, so their photographer decided to add them to the shot.
“We never forced anyone nor wanted to disrespect any race or culture. People in the Philippines felt disrespected and offended, but being there was a completely different feeling,” the couple added.
Ending their statement, the couple apologized for those offended by the photos, and admitted that there were lapses on their part. Billy cited that he grew up in a very diverse city (Roosevelt Island), and had experienced bullying and racism in his youth because of my being “an Asian.”
“Trust me, we meant no harm,” he said.
And yet, amid their apology and explanation, netizens still continue riding on the issue, perhaps trying to elicit more comments and gain more followers for their social media posts.
A blogger pointed out that we got offended by Billy and Coleen’s photos in Ethiopia, but we didn’t get even a little slighted when Russian photographer Murad Osmann and his influencer wife Nataly Zakharova used the members of local tribe in Palawan as their background for their “Follow Me To” campaign on Instagram. In the photo, members of the tribe were not smiling, women’s bosoms were exposed, and men were half-naked. They were used as props, and yet Filipino netizens were drumbeating “proud to be Pinoy!”
We are a bunch of onion-skinned hypocrite, aren’t we? But at the end of the day, to each his own, that is why I’d rather see passion in those pictures of Billy and Coleen rather than see hate, cultural insensitivity and racism.