Screenshots of Paulo peeing on the sidewalk taken from the movie immediately caught fire on social media on December 25, 2020, the first day of the 46th Metro Manila Film Festival.
The scene showed a view of Paulo’s private part, which is believed to be a prosthetic.
He said during the movie’s Zoom bloggers’ conference on December 28, “Ayun nga, e, parang I also think it’s a form of piracy, itong mga pag-i-screenshot.
“Ang dali namang pag-usapan, ang dali namang ikalat ng balita pero huwag naman sa point na ini-screen cap 'tapos ina-upload pa sa social media.”
According to the Kapamilya actor, his main concern was that the minors might chance upon the indelicate scene because it has been circulating wildly on social media.
He expressed, “Unang-una, maawa naman kayo sa mga underage na makakakita. For sure, may mga bata diyan.
“Pangalawa, hindi siya nakakatulong para sa pelikula. Mas na-appreciate ko sana if pinag-usapan na lang and sinabing panuorin iyong Fan Girl, may makikita kayo.
“Ang daming ways to handle it pero the whole team is finding a way to purge these photos."
Looking at the bright side, he continued, “I don’t think it would stop, but like I said sa isang interview ko, siguro, we’ll just have a positive outlook of it, the same way na sinasabi nila sa artista na bad publicity is still publicity.
“So siguro, same lang sa pelikula namin, sana nakatulong sa pag-akyat ng sales sa pagbili ng tickets.”
DIREK TONET AND CHARLIE’S REACTION
Fan Girl lead actress Charlie Dizon and director Antoinette "Tonet" Jadaone were also asked for their thoughts about the spread of Paulo’s photo on social media.
Charlie admitted feeling bad about it for the reason their movie was not at all about that one photo.
She said, “Noong una, medyo nakaka-feel bad na iyon iyong nakakakita ng tao na sana, mas makita nila na mas maganda iyong pelikula, mas may istorya, at mas may sense.
“Iyong iba kasi, masaya na sila na iyon iyong nakikita, iyong kumakalat na pictures.”
But looking at the positive side of the issue, Charlie said the people who went to see the movie initially because of the viral photo also saw its merits as whole.
She continued, “Pero thankful din po ako sa mga tao na nanunuod legally and talagang nag-stay sa pelikula dahil nagustuhan nila iyong kabuuan ng pelikula.
“Kasi minsan, iyong mga photos na ganun, na-a-out of context sa mismong story.
“Kumbaga, di nila alam ano pinanggalingan ng photos na iyon, pero thank you po sa mga sumuporta lalo nang nakita nga nila iyon.”
Direk Tonet seconded, “Ang isang magandang bagay doon ay when they see those photos and when they decide to watch the film because of those photos, parang sabi nga sa Fan Girl na social media account, ‘They came for Paulo’s eme but they stayed for the woman.’
“They think it’s all about that private thing but it’s actually a small part of a whole.”
In the meantime, movie producers and the executives of MMFF and its official streaming service, Upstream, are looking into possible legal moves against piracy.
Direk Tonet said, “Actually, hindi lang Fan Girl iyong nag-usap all the producers of the films included in the MMFF.
“Fan Girl iyong pinaka-apektado, pero halos lahat, apektado ng piracy.
“And we have been talking with Upstream and MMFF, this week, they will be very busy with filing of whatever.
“So we just have to meet again para mas maayos iyong proseso, pero definitely there will be very real consequences for the pirates and those who support pirated copies.”
Fan Girl won the top awards of the MMFF 2020: Best Picture, Best Actor for Paulo Avelino, and Best Actress for Charlie Dizon.