Controversy over FHM Philippines cover picked up by foreign press; Bela Padilla happy with the new cover

Bela Padilla says the "Stepping Out Of The Shadows" blurb on her FHM Philippines cover is appropriate for her change of image. She also tells PEP, "I guess I’ve been quite safe with my decisions before. I have the tendency of thinking too far ahead. Probably because I’m afraid of disappointing the people who matter to me. That’s my biggest fear."


Aside from BBC News, the controversy about Bela Padilla’s supposed cover photo on March 2012 issue of FHM Philippines was also picked up by other international newswires.

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London’s The Telegraph carried the news on its online version dated last Monday, February 27.

Its lead reads: "FHM in the Philippines has apologised and pulled its March cover after complaints that the image of a fair-skinned actress surrounded by dark-skinned models was racist."

New York Daily News also posted a similar news item on its website last February 27.

Its headline reads: "FHM Philippines magazine pulls its March cover featuring beauty Bela Padilla after ’racism’ outcry."

The cover photo showed the 20-year-old Kapuso actress in a pink sexy bikini surrounded by black female models with the caption below: "Bela Padilla: Stepping Out Of The Shadows."

Online debate started when FHM Philippines uploaded its supposed March 2012 cover photo on its Facebook fan page last weekend.

Due to the outpour of negative feedbacks from the readers, FHM Philippines decided to "re-examine the cover so that we could put into context its execution and assuage the concerns of our readers and non-readers as well who’ve weighed in on the issue."

Its official statement about the issue also included a public apology, which reads:

We took all the points into consideration and have decided to take the side of sensitivity.

When FHM hits the stands in March it will have a different cover. We deem this to be the most prudent move in the light of the confusion over the previous cover execution.

We apologize and thank those who have raised their points. We apologize to Bela Padilla for any distress this may have caused her.

In our pursuit to come up with edgier covers, we will strive to be more sensitive next time.

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BELA HAPPY ABOUT POSITIVE REMARKS. Meanwhile, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) contacted Bela Padilla through e-mail earlier today, February 29, and asked several questions about the controversy being picked up by foreign press.

PEP: How did the issue affect you? How do you feel that the issue has been picked up by the foreign press?

BELA: "I was really shocked. That was mainly my first reaction. I didn’t expect that it would be blown up like this.

"I was at taping when I first found out about it, so I didn’t have time to entertain the remarks. It didn’t sink in so much yet because I had work to do.

"But I’m happy that in 2 days all I’ve been getting are mostly positive comments."

PEP: You mentioned about finally letting go of your fears and inhibitions on your Twitter. What is your greatest fear? What is it that hold Bela Padilla from doing what she wants to do?

BELA: "I guess I’ve been quite safe with my decisions before. I have the tendency of thinking too far ahead.

"Probably because I’m afraid of disappointing the people who matter to me. That’s my biggest fear.

"That’s why I pattern my choices alongside that thought, that I shouldn’t ever disappoint. And my age was holding me back. I felt too young to do certain things."

PEP: For your cover, whom did you ask permission from?

BELA: "I asked permission from my parents first. My dad’s abroad right now but my mum who lives here in Manila with me really has the final say with everything. Not just FHM.

"She was there when they showed the costumes, and she was there during the shoot. It’s really her who decides."

PEP: You seem to be a controversy-magnet, how does it feel to be one?

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"That’s not something a person wants hahaha. Because it keeps you on the edge of your toes. You have to be very careful because of the scrutiny.

"But that parts ok with me coz I know I have nothing to hide. Plus I’m at home all the time when I’m not at work. I’m staying out of trouble :)"

PEP: Are you okay with FHM’s decision to change the cover?

BELA: "I am ok with the new cover. I just saw it and I know why FHM chose it, it has as much ’sexiness’ as the first one so I’m happy. :)"

PEP: After this career move, what can the fans expect from you?

BELA: "I can promise a more confident Bela..but unfortunately not a sexier one yet. This is the sexiest I can go at this stage of my life. :)"


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