Toni Gonzaga 'grateful' for engagement; Shopee moves forward with TV host as new endorser

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2022 08:28 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2022 04:29 PM

Actress-host Toni Gonzaga. Instagram: @celestinegonzaga, @iamantoniopapa
Actress-host Toni Gonzaga. Instagram: @celestinegonzaga, @iamantoniopapa

MANILA — Shopee said it remains “committed to providing its users with an enjoyable shopping experience,” as it moved forward with plans involving its new endorser, Toni Gonzaga, amid the backlash to her being tapped as the brand’s new face.

“Shopee is committed to providing its users with an enjoyable shopping experience on the platform,” the company said in a statement Friday. “We are extending the same level of commitment to our valued users with 10.10 Brands Festival through mas mura brand deals up to 50% off, back-to-back Super Brand Days, and our new brand ambassador Toni Gonzaga.”

“Together with our newest Brand Ambassador, Toni, we are working to deliver entertaining content to drive anticipation leading up to the upcoming 10.10 Brands Festival,” Shopee added.

Shopee teased Gonzaga as its latest endorser on Wednesday, September 28, instantly drawing negative reactions from users who expressed opposition to the host’s political stand.

Gonzaga is a loyal supporter of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., whom she also actively campaigned for during the 2022 elections.

Prior to Gonzaga, Shopee had tapped celebrities like Kris Aquino and Manny Pacquiao as its endorsers. Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, was installed to power after a popular revolt that ousted Marcos Sr.’s dictatorship in 1986. Pacquiao, meanwhile, was one of Marcos Jr.’s opponents in the presidential race.

For most of Wednesday, Shopee as well as the hashtags #ByeShopee and #BoycottShopee became trending topics on Twitter, with some merchants on the platform saying they would move their business elsewhere and a number of personalities saying they would delete the app.

Among the celebrities who aired their sentiments was screen veteran Jaime Fabregas — Gonzaga’s former ABS-CBN colleague — who tweeted: “I have deleted my Shopee account. Matagal ko nang gustong gawin dahil sa gastos pero ngayon nagkaroon ng más malalim na dahilan.”

While Shopee did not address the backlash on social media, netizens noticed that the company did not offer live updates of the September 29 event launching Gonzaga as its endorser, despite earlier teasing the reveal across its online pages.

At the launch, Gonzaga made no direct comment on the criticism related to her political leaning, but did say she was “grateful” that her involvement with Shopee generated “engagement.”

“I’m really grateful, I feel really blessed,” she said of becoming a Shopee ambassador.

Toni Gonzaga is the new face of Shopee Philippines. Screenshot/Instagram: @celestinegonzaga
Toni Gonzaga is the new face of Shopee Philippines. Screenshot/Instagram: @celestinegonzaga

“We are also grateful because since yesterday we are trending. We are trending since yesterday, and today we are grateful to our netizens for the mentions, for the engagements. You know, we are grateful for them because they are also one of the reasons why we are here where we are today,” she added.

On Friday, September 30, Shopee remained a trending topic on social media, as netizens aired their take on the call to boycott the app over its choice of endorser.

Some took issue with “cancel culture,” saying that workers of Shopee may be affected by the campaign to delete the app, while others pointed out the company’s reported downsizing of its workforce across internationally, including the Philippines.

A number of those siding with Gonzaga also branded the boycott as “petty” and “immature,” and a supposed manifestation of being unable to accept defeat, pertaining to the elections.

Here are some of them: