Bongbong breaks silence on attacks vs Toni Gonzaga

Former senator Bongbong Marcos during his interview with actress and television personality Toni Gonzaga on her web talk show, ToniTalks. (Screenshot from the episode produced by Toni Gonzaga Studio)

AFTER celebrity host Toni Gonzaga came under fire from online bashers for doing a one-on-one interview with him, former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. has come to her defense, saying she had acted professionally and her critics were the ones infringing on her freedom while professing to love democracy.

Marcos said he was surprised at the vitriol that rained on Gonzaga despite her being a neutral and professional host.

“I was surprised why they attacked Toni, who was just doing her job. She is a vlogger. She interviews many different people. She does not discriminate. If you look at those she interviewed, they represent a whole range of backgrounds. But it was only in my case that there was such a reaction,” Marcos said in a mix of English and Filipino in an interview with Erwin Tulfo’s radio program on Friday.

Most critics said that, being a popular vlogger, Gonzaga should be more “responsible” in her choices and not be used for, among others, “historical revisionism” in  the young Marcos’s efforts to paint a good narrative of the years when his father, Ferdinand Sr., was president.

Other critics reminded her that the victims of martial law don’t have access to celebrity hosts like her so they can tell their stories.

Some of Gonzaga’s supporters said, however, the critics have no right to dictate, and were never forced to watch it anyway.

Another screenshot from Toni Gonzaga’s controversial ToniTalks interview with former senator Bongbong Marcos

‘Cancel’ backfires

Marcos, meanwhile, noted that attempts at ‘cancelling’ Toni seemed to have backfired because amid the criticisms, the episode featuring him earned more than 200,000 likes and her subscribers even grew by 100,000 following the debacle.

“It seems few people agree with them because before they canceled her, the likes on her FB live were at 10,000 only. When they started the calls to cancel her, the likes soared to 200,000 plus. So we can see that she’s supported by many in what she does. Even her subscribers grew to 100,000,” Marcos noted.

On YouTube, the episode has, as of this writing, earned nearly 4.3 million views, with 443,000 likes as against 54,000 dislikes. Toni Gonzaga Studio which produced the episode now has 4.19 million subscribers.

Cancel culture is defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary as, “a mass withdrawal of support from public figures or celebrities who have done things that aren’t socially accepted today. Also known as mass shaming, it often occurs on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.”

Marcos praised Gonzaga’s superb hosting skill, saying she could rival some journalists.  The former senator thinks that accounts for why Gonzaga can hold engaging conversations with her guests and draw out responses that others cannot.

The young Marcos, who ran but lost to Vice President Leni Robredo in 2016, has not denied his plans to seek elective office anew in 2022.

He lamented that “there are really groups who react badly no matter what any Marcos would say. For some, it’s their job [to criticize]. But why pick on Toni Gonzaga? She’s a Vlogger, she’s not a journalist although, I have to say, she does a better job than some of the journalists,”

Marcos then wondered aloud, “Are they responsible? Are they looking for the truth as much as Toni Gonzaga was? I don’t know. You cannot dictate to her what the content of her channel should be. That’s her channel. Her channel, her rules. Someone once shared this quote with me: ‘Do not let your hate overwhelm your humanity,’  and this is a perfect example. Our goal should be to be united because we are in the middle of a crisis.”

Marcos also lashed out at critics accusing him of historical revisionism particularly when it comes to his portrayal of his father.

“If you don’t like what I’m saying, then don’t watch me. I’m not spouting lies. . .  They should not dictate on me what I should say of my experience with my father. That’s too much. That is my experience with my father. That’s the truth. People who were close to him will attest to his character. The peddling of hate, what do we get from that?”  Marcos said.

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