In a supposed pre-nuptial photo set circulating social media, Billy Crawford and fiance, Coleen Garcia, received backlash from netizens describing their prenup “racists and derogatory”.
The photoshoot was held in Ethiopia, in a native tribe, using the area and its natives as part of the photoshoot.
A lot of Netizens expressed their anger and displeasure, citing that it is not only degrading but racist and distasteful.
However, Billy and Coleen were able to clear things up in a joint statement released by ABS-CBN.
“This is isn’t our final *official* prenup actually, as that will be more personal and is set here in the Philippines,” the statement said. “We were invited and sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines to do our shoot there for their tourism and capture their natural environment because we were told that tourism helps their economy.”
In regards to the shoot with kids, their response was: “…actually patapos na kaming mag shoot noon na kaming dalawa lang and we just needed to get a few shots in, but naaliw yung kids (who were already there) and they really wanted to be a part of the photo so they kept coming into the frame hanggang sa sinama na nina Oly. ”
“We never forced anyone nor wanted to disrespect any race or culture. People in the Philippines felt disrespected and offended, but being there was completely different feeling. May mga nagsabi na bihis na bihis kami, but we did go there pre-styled for a fashion shoot, and everything else followed spontaneously.”
“We have so many photos of the two of us, mga 95% ng photos, and there were two or three that offended people and were singled out, so the team took them down right away because that is not our intention. We’ve had the photos for months and a lot of people have seen them prior to their release. Every time we look at the photos, we remember how we got to interact with the locals while we were there, and its something truly memorable for all of us including the team.” they further added in the statement.
In an ending statement, Billy and Coleen apologized to the netizen and the harm the photos have caused. “Kaya, we apologize for how it might have translated, and we’re sorry again to those we have offended. I grew up in a very diverse city (Roosevelt Island), and had experience bullying and racism in my youth because of my being “an Asian”. Trust me, we meant no harm.”
Despite the release of the statement, some netizens continued to doubt the purpose of the shoot.
Screenshot of comments is from the public domain of Facebook and Twitter.