Naglabas na ng official statement ang Bench kaugnay ng kontrobersiyal na billboard nila na makikita sa Edsa-Guadalupe, kung saan makikitang tinakpan ng itim na pintura ang magkahawak na mga kamay ng gay couple.
Naging maingay ito sa social media nang manawagan ang maraming netizens, kabilang na ang ilang artista, na ipakita ang tinakpan na holding hands umano nina Vince Uy at Niño Gaddi bilang pagpapakita ng suporta sa LGBT (lesbian, gay, bixesual, and transgender) community.
Related articles: Is Bench's #LoveAllKindsOfLove billboard "too gay"?
Para sa Valentine season, naglunsad ang Bench ng kampanya na tinawag na “Love All Kinds Of Love,” kung saan iba't ibang pares ang nag-represent ng iba't ibang uri ng pagmamahal, kabilang na ang same-sex relationship.
Maraming netizens ang nag-react nang mapansin nila ang tinakpang mga kamay ng gay couple sa billboard.
Taliwas daw ito sa inilabas na press release photos ng Bench sa social media kung saan kitang-kita at walang takip ang paghahawak-kamay ng nasabing couple.
Sa article na lumabas sa stylebible.ph ngayong Lunes, February 16, sinabi ni Jojo Liamzon, advertising and promotions manager ng Suyen Corporation na siyang nagmamay-ari ng Bench, sa printing pa lang ay tinakpan na ng black paint ang controversial billboard, na iniladlad sa Edsa-Guadalupe noong February 11, Miyerkules.
Ani Liamzon, pagsunod ito sa recommendation ng Ad Standards Council (ASC).
Diin niya, tinakpan na ang holding-hands sa larawang isinumite ng Bench na inaprubahan naman ng ASC.
Dagdag pa ni Liamzon, ang walang takip na holding-hands na larawan ay ang PR photos na inilabas ng Bench sa social media at sa publications, kaya naisip ng mga nakakita nito na na-vandalize ang billboard.
BENCH’S OFFICIAL STATEMENT. Sa inilabas na official statement ng Bench, idinetalye rito na nang isinumite pa lang nila ang photo na ilalabas sa billboard, nakatanggap sila ng “concern” mula sa ASC dahil sa magkayakap at magkahawak-kamay na gay couple.
Sinabi pa sa official statement, ni-reject din ng ASC ang mga naunang larawan ng gay couple na “looking lovingly at one another.” Ang “traditional Filipino family values” daw ang kanilang dahilan.
Narito ang buong official statement ng Bench:
"When billboard images for Bench's 'Love All Kinds of Love' campaign were submitted to the governing body, the company received concern over the photo of Vince Uy with his arm around partner Niño Gaddi, hands clasped in a show of affection. Prior, the governing body had rejected photos of the couple looking lovingly at one another, citing ‘traditional Filipino family values’ as a reason.
“The approved version with hands obscured is the billboard that Bench had printed and that now stands on EDSA. A digital mockup of the EDSA billboard showing the unobscured hands of Uy and Gaddi had been disseminated to press and is what likely led the public to assume the billboard had been defaced.
“Despite its deviation from the original idea, Bench decided to move forward with the billboard showing obscured hands because the company believes that its message was still intact: that of well represented diversity, and the message that same-sex relationships are just as substantial and valid as heterosexual romantic love and familial love.
“We respect ASC’s commitment to ‘adhering to prevailing moral and social standards of the country’ and salute them for upholding their beliefs. However, we were resolute at championing a cause we strongly believe in.
“The thrust of the campaign had always been inclusion, acceptance, and respect. We saw no better time for it than the week of Valentine’s Day, the celebration of love. We still stand by a message of unity, not division. And while the message has been compromised to an extent, the most important thing is that at least, for the duration that the billboards are up, the voices, lives, and loves of the LGBT community are unavoidable and undeniable on an avenue Filipinos from all walks of life cross everyday.
“After having discovered the governing body’s clarified stance recently, where its director was quoted in Rappler to be accepting of Uy and Gaddi’s billboard, Bench would like to propose a replacement of the couple’s current billboard with that of the original image, hands clasped.”
ASC DENIES ORDER TO BLUR. Ang tinutukoy ng Bench na “clarified stance” ng ASC ay ang panayam sa executive director nito na si Mila Marquez.
Sinabi ni Marquez na hindi sila ang nag-utos na takpan o i-blur ang holding hands ng gay couple sa billboard.
Pahayag niya sa panayam ng Rappler, "This particular series was not blurred by ASC. We were surprised they blurred it... Possibly because they think they will be given approval if they do that.
"We had discussion with them particularly because they put up the billboards without clearance to display. If at all, they were given approval to produce it. If ever there is violation, the violation is more procedural than conceptual."
Dagdag pa ni Marquez, "The ASC is not a censorship body. What we're promoting is self-regulation, meaning clients and ad agency are the ones who should also regulate themselves."