“Hindi ko na-experience,” was Kris Aquino's reply when she was asked to comment on the issue of sexual harassment in local showbiz.
She made it clear, however, that she could not speak for others who might have been subjected to this.
The 46-year-old TV host and movie actress said, “I’m not belittling what other people went through.
“But, you have to remember, those formative years and when I entered the business, my mom was President.
“And, by the time na natapos yung term niya, na-establish ko na yung sarili ko.”
Kris is the youngest among five children of the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino and the assassinated opposition senator, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.
She entered show business when she was 19 years old, via the 1990 film Pido Dida: Sabay Tayo, opposite the late comedian Rene Requiestas.
Her mother Cory became president of the Philippines after the historic People Power Revolution in 1986, which ended the 21-year rule of the dictator President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos. Cory's six-year term ended in 1992.
Sexual harassment is in focus today following the controversial exposé by Hollywood stars of their harrowing encounters with powerful Miramax executive Harvey Weinstein.
The story first published in newyorker.com on October 10, 2017, prompted even Hollywood A-listers to come forward and speak up.
Last week, actress Alyssa Milano launched via Twitter the hashtag “#MeToo”—an awareness campaign that aims to “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem” arising from women who are victims of sexual harassment.
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GUIDANCE FROM PARENTS, GUARDIANS. On the home front, Kris said, “Can I be more honest? In this country, I feel it's more of a problem sa lalaki in showbiz.”
She did not elaborate, but went on to say that young female stars had more protection because the common practice in showbiz was to have parents and guardians go with the girls to their work engagements.
“I cannot speak for the others because I don’t know their experiences.
“But for most of the other girls—especially those I’ve gotten close to, even those who went through the talent searches and all—walang mga ganyang experience kasi may mga nanay na nakabantay.
“Kultura natin yung may ate, may tita, may mommy—yun talaga."
Kris added that it also helps that the TV/movie industry is “matriarchal,” with top film directors and top producers, or the people who call the shots, “either gay or women.”
Kris was interviewed by select entertainment reporters, including PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), at her video shoot for the antihistamine brand Claritin, at her Quezon City home last Friday, October 20.
WHOLESOME IMAGE. Kris theorized that the local entertainment industry tended to be protective of female stars because these stars were also the celebrity endorsers of top brands in the country.
As she put it, “May demarcation line sa mga wholesome girls, and aalagaan mo talaga yung image—that’s the other difference.
“Ang benchmark sa atin is paramihan ng endorsements, so aalagaan yun.
“Sa Hollywood, di ba, ang actresses very rarely sila… They don’t go commercial in the sense na ang mga TV stars doon, pili.
“Tapos rare yung nagko-crossover sa movies. And sa kanila, singers ang mga nage-endorse…
“So, it’s a whole different culture. And because I think the Catholic culture is different.”