MANILA, March 8 (Reuters) - The Philippines embassy in Washington has chided broadcaster CBS Corp and demanded “corrective actions” against what it said was a trailer of drama “Madam Secretary” that featured a Philippine president making inappropriate advances on a minister.
In a letter to CBS, the embassy complained of a “highly negative portrayal” it said “tarnishes the Philippines’ longstanding advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality”.
A 20-second teaser uploaded on YouTube, which went viral in the Philippines, shows a U.S. Secretary of State, played by Tea Leoni, punching a fictional Philippine president and giving him a bloodied nose, after his improper behaviour towards her.
Reuters could not immediately verify if the clip originated from CBS and did not receive any immediate response to a telephone call and email to CBS for comment. The trailer did not appear on its YouTube channel or its website dedicated to the political drama.
But a preview of the forthcoming episode on the CBS website said the character played by Leoni is shocked when “the Philippines unconventional new president makes a pass at her”.
Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte, who took office eight months ago, has often been described as unconventional, as well as volatile, mercurial, unorthodox and foul-mouthed.
He has also been characterised as Asia’s version of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Though Duterte is a self-confessed womaniser and has been criticised for making lewd comments and occasionally wolf-whistling at women, his supporters point to how many of his policies are geared towards gender equality and promoting and recognising women in important roles.
Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said that if CBS wanted to make such a portrayal of a president, it could have looked closer to home.
“They’re projecting something that they really would like to say about their own situation,” he said on Tuesday. “Really, I think they should use a fictional U.S. president.” (Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)