A Philippine television game show host and his station have apologised after an uproar over a segment showing a six-year-old boy crying while gyrating and mimicking a striptease dancer.
The boy was a contestant on an episode of Willing Willie
, a variety and gameshow that features mostly poor Filipinos who earn cash prizes for singing, dancing, telling their stories or playing games.
Social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman condemned the emotional abuse and humiliation suffered by the boy. Soliman said host Willie Revillame and the audience showed no concern for the boy and that the programme amounted to child abuse.
Station TV5 apologised on behalf of Revillame, saying there had been no intention to humiliate the boy who was with his aunt, who approved his performance. It said the boy appeared to be in tears not because he was forced to dance but because he
was playing a role and got scared. The boy earned a prize of $230 for his dance.
Retired advertising industry leader and now Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) chairperson Emily Abrera encouraged other advertisers to follow the lead of companies that have already pulled out their ads from Willie Revillame's game show,
She said this is a proactive way for companies to encourage quality programming on local television.
Willing Willie has now been pulled following the public uproar over the host letting a crying 6-year-old boy mimic a striptease dancer.
launched a campaign on social-networking sites to remove Revillame from the show. The outcry led major sponsors to pull out, including Procter & Gamble, Del Monte, Unilever and Philippine fast-food giant Jollibee.
TV5 network said it wants to
improve the program and work with television and advertising industry stakeholders on guidelines for the participation of children in all game and reality TV shows. Host Willie Revillame said he was taking two weeks of leave after which he will announce
if he'll return to television.
The government's Commission on Human Rights and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board said they were investigating.
The popular show Willing Willie has been suspended for one month. It was the subject of complaints after a six-year-old boy was prodded to gyrate like a macho dancer in an episode last March in exchange for a cash prize.
The Movie and
Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) will count the airing days since April 11 that the show has been voluntarily off the air. The program will also be on probation, or on a per-broadcast permit status, until the MTRCB decides
The MTCRB said: The Committee hereby directs the MTRCB Agents to conduct a daily monitoring of the show, and to submit a weekly report to the MTRCB Chief Legal Counsel, with regard to the faithful implementation of the measures
committed by ABC5.
The board found the show's network ABC-5 and network executive Ramon del Rosario guilty of immoral or indecent content.