The math teacher whose body and brains made him an Internet sensation may have miscalculated the potential effects of a fitness video he recently posted on social media.
Pietro Boselli has come under fire for using a friend as a workout equipment in a nearly 3-minute clip that he said they made just for fun.
In what looked like a scripted video set on an unnamed island in the country, Boselli talks to the camera and says he was looking for a training tool he can “actually lift repeatedly for exercise.” He settles for a “Filipino man,” whom he calls “ideal.”
Subsequent scenes show Boselli chasing the man around the beach and hoisting him a number of times as if he were weights. He would later clarify to the Telegraph that the man was his friend, Danel.
The image didn’t sit well with many people.
Krishna Omkar, whose reaction to Boselli’s video drew one of the most likes on Facebook, called the clip “outrageous.”
“The Filipino man is referred to by the white man (Pietro Boselli) as ‘that’ and ‘my weight,’ he doesn’t have a name, neither do we see his face clearly, nor do we hear him speak, he is purely an object to be used by the white man and must be approached ‘slowly because he can get scared and start running’ just like a wild animal?” Omkar wrote.
“Yes I do have fun and I have a great sense of humour. That’s what lets me recognize that this is demeaning and derogatory.”
Another commenter, JP Mercado, said the visuals were “problematic.”
“Put differently, while Pietro is fully formed . . . ‘that Filipino man’ remains a caricature who’s poked fun at,” Mercado wrote.
“I don’t know. I mean, I’m all for shenanigans, which I’m a staunch advocate of, but this is just . . . off.”
Some who defended Boselli said they don’t understand how any one would take offense over a video that both Boselli and Danel knowingly agreed to create.
Boselli told the Telegraph he only has respect for Filipinos.
“I am so far removed from racism that I cannot possibly see anything racist about a funny video I have made with my friend Danel (the Filipino man in the video),” he said.
“We all have differences but we are all the same as human beings. I have and always will respect everyone.
“If anyone sees any racism in this video, they probably have racism in their head. I and Danel alike, still think this is light- hearted and funny video.”