DESPITE the protest by the Philippine Embassy in Washington, CBS Corporation still aired the latest episode of American television series “Madam Secretary” on Sunday, March 12.
The Philippine Embassy earlier called on CBS to take “necessary corrective actions,” following a “highly negative depiction” of a supposed Philippine president on the American TV series.
Based on its trailer, the season 3, episode 15 of “Madam Secretary” showed fictional Philippine President Datu Andrada (played by Joel de la Fuente) clad in a barong and is seen to be making sexual advances toward the lead character, U.S. Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (played by Téa Leoni), during a private meeting to discuss an Asia-Pacific territory treaty.
In response to the inappropriate move, McCord reflexively punches Andrada in the face and bloodies his nose. She then tells her husband (played by Tim Daly), “I clobbered a world leader instead of saving a major regional agreement.”
Entitled “Break in Diplomacy,” the prompted backlash from Filipino officials and supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte. In a later scene in the episode, Andrada is seen wearing a plaid polo shirt, drawing a strong connection to the piece of clothing commonly worn by Duterte.
While CBS has yet to issue any statements as of this writing, Leoni wrote on her Twitter account: “Funny, I had someone else in mind… #relaxduerte (sic).”
In her post, Leoni was quoting another tweet that links to a Mashable news article entitled, “People are furious that ‘Madam Secretary’ will feature a lecherous Filipino president.”
Earlier on March 6, the Philippine Embassy said that the “highly negative portrayal” of the Filipino president not only casts doubt on the respectability of the Office of the Philippine President but also “denigrates the way our nation navigates foreign affairs.”
Though the show is a work of fiction, the embassy said it “tracks and mirrors current events.”
“It is, therefore, inevitable that its depiction of world leaders will have an impact on how its audience views the real personages and the countries they represent,” the statement added.
Asked if Duterte found the trailer insulting, Philippine Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said: “Well, they engage in something that they would like to — It’s their business. It’s their craft. You cannot deny them their craft. Their taste, perhaps.”