MANILA, Philippines – Actress and former beauty queen Miriam Quiambao has apologized for sparking another Twitter ruckus with a series of comments deemed offensive by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.
But the controversy rages on as other personalities and celebrities have joined the fray.
Activist, TV personality, and Manila maven Carlos Celdran on Monday tweeted this scathing response: “When did you become a freakshow? Dahell? Didn’t see this one coming. Wow. You need help, woman.”
Already in trouble with the LGBT sector after taking exception to the Miss Universe Organization’s policy of accepting transgenders in the pageant just three weeks ago, Miriam courted controversy anew after a guest appearance on Boy Abunda’s talk show “The Bottomline” Saturday night on ABS-CBN in which she was quoted as saying, “Homosexuality is not the one that makes you a sinner. Actually, sexual immorality is what makes you a sinner.”
But what really ruffled a lot of feathers was another tweet Miriam posted the following Sunday: “Homosexuality is not a sin but it is a lie from the devil. Do not be deceived. God loves gays and wants them to know the truth.”
Miriam is a cast member of TV5’s “The Jose and Wally Show” and a born-again Christian who professes her faith through her tweets.
With over 102,000 followers, Miriam’s tweet did not go unnoticed and quickly received a slew of replies, mostly from those who took offense. Many did not mince words in giving her a piece of their mind.
Twitter user Homer Espiritu (@Homerspirit) tweeted, “I am hurt and enraged (excerpt)…” and promptly demanded an apology.
Designer Paolo Castro (@pawawawofficial) started a series of angry tweets with an unprintable cuss word before saying, “love is pure. it does not judge and definitely does not exist in the form of religion. religion separates. ur an example.”
And Marco Javier (@MJ) tweeted, “What a homophobe. Piss off, @miriamq. We don’t need you to ‘save’ us.”
Miriam defended and qualified her statement by replying to most of the harsher tweets as she kept emphasizing the message that “God loves you” even to those tweeting profanities.
Among her succeeding tweets: “No offense to the LGBT but the Truth is the Truth that comes from God. Take it or leave it. We will all face the judgment seat of God.” “I’m not a savior. Just a messenger. Only Jesus saves. Turn to Jesus. God bless.” “Mahal ko ang LGBT. That’s why I am sharing with you the truth. If you are not ready for it, please don’t shoot me. I am just a messenger.”
Later that same day, Miriam also initially issued a qualified apology with the tweet, “I’m sorry if the truth offends some people…” before tweeting the more categorical, “I’m sorry LGBT. Perhaps I was too harsh with the words I used. Will do my best to be more sensitive.”
Despite Miriam’s act of contrition and eventual conciliatory stance, the raging controversy seems to be far from over.
Lea Salonga tweeted a sober analysis of the dust-up: “She’s entitled to her opinions, sure, but she needs to be mindful of who she’ll be hurting in the process of expressing them.”
InterAksyon.com columnist Teddyboy Locsin is surprisingly more forgiving. In his defense of the former Miss Universe runner-up, whom he describes as “a good person,” he also pointed out that Miriam is actually “standing up for gays” with her controversial tweet.
“What she means is that the pejorative word and notion of ‘homosexuality’ is a satanic lie and no way reflects God’s undiscriminating love,” the former Makati congressman tweeted in two installments.