MANILA - "Pinoy Big Brother" housemate Nichole Baranda was made to explain a controversial photo of her flashing her middle finger, which went viral on the night she entered the famous yellow house.
In the premiere episode of "Pinoy Big Brother: All In" last April 27, the 15-year-old student was introduced as the "Sweet Revelation" of Makati -- a tag which became a subject of criticisms online when the photo surfaced.
At the time, netizens posted a side-by-side comparison of Nichole's profile as a "Pinoy Big Brother" housemate and the photo of her with her middle finger raised.
In the episode of the reality show aired Wednesday, "Kuya" enlists the help of housemates Alex Gonzaga and Michele Gumabao in getting Nichole to open up about the photo.
Shocked when she is shown a print-out of the image, Nichole asks where it came from. Asked to share the story behind it, Nichole says she was making random poses on a "normal day" and posted some of the photos she took on Twitter.
Speaking with "Kuya" in the confession room, Nichole airs her concern over her mom, TV host Phoemela Baranda, possibly getting disappointed with her gesture in the photo.
"Madi-disappoint po siya kasi hindi niya naman po ako tinuruan ng gano'n. Ayoko pong isipan niya na ganoon akong klaseng kid," Nichole says. "Kung nakita po niya 'yon, if ever, hindi niya po alam 'yung buong story. Hindi ko po masasabi sa kanya na random poses 'yung ginagawa ko."
Later, Nichole tells Alex and Michele that the photo "does not define [who I am]." The older housemates agree, but advise her to be cautious about what she posts online as it is easily accessible to anyone.
Similarly, Big Brother tells Nichole that while she may not consider the photo to have any meaning, those who have seen it online may see it differently.
"Bilang nakakatanda at gumagabay din sa iyo ngayon, sinsabi ko sa'yo na mali," Big Brother says. "Sinabi mo sa akin kanina na baka magalit ang nanay mo. Pero sa totoo lang, ang isang magulang, higit sa galit ay mag-aalala siya."
As the scenes aired on Wednesday night, the episode's official hashtag -- "#PBBLitraTalkShow," in reference to Alex's mini-talk show inside the house -- became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the Philippines and worldwide.
"#RespectNicholeBaranda," a hashtag used by viewers to show support for Nichole, also became a local trend shortly after the episode's telecast.
"Pinoy Big Brother: All In" airs weeknights on Primetime Bida, and on Saturdays and Sundays as part of ABS-CBN's Yes! Weekend line-up. Afternoon updates are also aired via "Uber" on weekdays.