Friday, August 24, 2007

Malu Fernandez' Apology

Via Slap Happy, Malu Fernandez resigns from the two publications and issues the following apology:
"I am humbled by the vehement and heated response provoked by my article entitled 'From Boracay to Greece!' which came out in the June 2007 issue of People Asia. To say that this article was not meant to malign, hurt or express prejudice against the OFWs now sounds hollow after reading through all the blogs from Filipinos all over the world. I am deeply apologetic for my insensitivity and the offensive manner in which this article was written, I hear you all and I am properly rebuked. It was truly not my intention to malign hurt or express prejudice against OFWs.

As the recent recipient and target of death threats, hate blogs, and deeply personal insults, I now truly understand the insidiousness of discrimination and prejudice disguised as humor. Our society is bound together by human chains of kindness and decency. I have failed to observe this and I am now reaping the consequences of my actions. It is my fervent hope that the lessons that Ive learned are not lost on all those who through anonymous blogs, engaged in bigotry, discrimination, and hatred ( against overweight individuals , for example )

I take full responsibility for my actions and my friends and family have nothing to do with this. To date I have submitted my resignation letters to both the Manila Standard and People Asia, on that note may this matter be laid to rest."
I do hope she is sincere with the above apology which i think is as good as any that i've come across. A clear victory for OFW's, for bloggers (who did not need the help of Old Media in this campaign) and against elitism. However, i think the attacks directed at her weight will be historically viewed in a negative light. I also believe that the campaign to fire her is a setback for free speech and sets a potentially dangerous precedent as explained by Jego.

Update Aug-24-2007 10:15PM: Despite its being, in my view, a setback for free speech, it can also be considered a victory for a form of direct democracy that blogger Sparks calls the Cyber Counterculture Movement. I believe that at least some of the credit for this phenomenon goes to this individual.

Update Aug-24-2007 10:21PM: Via Manolo, Jove Francisco posts one of the most moving tributes to the OFW that i've read (particularly because it does not go over the top).

Update Aug-26-2007 3:27PM: Blogger Dominique compares the recent blogstorm to a Lynch Mob. While there are similarities with real life lynch mobs, i think that the analogy can be stretched too far. After all, what makes lynch mobs unnacceptable is the element of physical violence which is not possible in a virtual environment. For example, in the Blogosphere, Malu Fernandez can always put up her own blog where the worst thing that can happen to her is to be ignored.

Update Aug-27-2007 11:03PM: Blogger Smoke points to an interesting twist a-la Poltergeist II.


Jego said...

I also find the death threats disturbing if there were indeed such threats.

Jove Francisco said...

thanks, carlo!

cvj said...

Jove, you're welcome!

Anonymous said...

Malu Fernandez proves herself another weak-willed Filipino newswriter unwilling to hold her ground and her right to publish her opinion amidst opposition to her acerbic humor.

cvj said...

Anonymous, i agree she could have held her ground on the basis of freedom of speech and she would have been entitled to do that. However, as far as her 'acerbic humor' is concerned, she did mention in her apology that she " truly understand[s] the insidiousness of discrimination and prejudice disguised as humor". That shows remorse which requires more strength of will than pride, especially to someone from her background. If subsequent actions prove that she proves is sincere, her realization above is a first step towards rehabilitation.

cvj said...

sorry for the extraneous 'proves'.

Dom Cimafranca said...

Hi, CVJ -- words can also have an element of violence that cut deeper than their physical counterparts.

cvj said...

Hi Dom, true, but that 'violence' depends on the consent of the person on the receiving end. More importantly, it's comes with freedom of expression which is something that Society values in itself. There is no equivalent value that Society can derived from a physical lynching.