Bela tells BBC: No regrets about FHM cover

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 29 2012 02:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 01 2012 12:19 AM

Actress Bela Padilla graces the cover of FHM Philippines' March 2012 issue.

MANILA, Philippines -- Actress Bela Padilla was interviewed by global news organization BBC on Tuesday following her controversial cover on men's magazine FHM Philippines, which was branded by many as racist.

Speaking to anchor Mishal Husain, Padilla said she does not regret doing the cover, which featured her surrounded by dark-skinned models, despite the controversy.

But the fair-skinned actress repeatedly apologized to anyone who may have been offended by the March 2012 cover, which had the caption "Bela Padilla stepping out of the shadows."

"I actually don't regret it because it was a beautiful photo. But if it did hurt anyone, then I'm sorry," she said in the interview.

According to Padilla, the cover was meant to symbolize her "coming of age" as an actress, and not to discriminate against blacks.

"Honestly, some of those girls were actually Filipinas painted black not to represent Africans. We were really doing that to portray shadows because like I said, it's my coming of age so they wanted a symbolization of me coming out of my old shadows," she explained.

The BBC anchor then said: "Some people may think it's even more offensive that some people in that shoot were Filipinas who've been painted black."

Padilla replied, saying, "Honestly, when I see a black person, I don't initially think of a certain race because we also have black Filipinos. And we didn't really think of harming anyone when we did that shoot so again, I want to say sorry to anyone who was offended."

She added that she was "as shocked as everyone" when she saw the caption with the photo. "I saw the picture before I saw the layout of the page with the caption," the actress said.

FHM Philippines earlier issued an apology and has decided not to use the controversial cover as they "take the side of sensitivity." Members of the editorial team made the statement after they received flak for being "racist."

The story has been picked up by news organizations across the globe. Aside from BBC, it was also used by The Telegraph and the Associated Press, among others.

Meanwhile, sources said FHM Philippines may re-shoot Padilla's spread for the magazine.

Gabriela says FHM also sexist

Militant women's group Gabriela also took the opportunity to share its views on FHM Philippines March 2012 cover, and the men's magazine's spreads in general.

In a statement, Gabriela secretary general Lana Linaban scored the magazine not only for its latest "racist" cover, but also for "its usual portrayal of women as cheap commodities that cater to macho fantasies."

"We women's rights advocates condemn the publisher Summit Media and its editors for continually distorting women's bodies and packaging them as so-called modern women," Linaban said.

"But the truth is, they (ab)use women as commodities and conduits of mindless purchase of products and services that further enslave men and women in pursuit of hedonic consumption, blinding society from seeing the harsh economic crisis," she added.

Meanwhile, Gabriela said these issues will be highlighted on March 8, which is International Women's Day.