Just a few hours after Penshoppe’s launched its #IAmDifferent anti-bullying campaign on October 23, the brand drew flak after allegedly getting controversial blogger Franco Mabanta as endorser.
Netizens took to social media to express their dismay and called for the boycott of the brand using the hashtag #boycottpenshoppe.
Mabanta, a social media influencer and known to be a vocal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, was condemned for his Facebook post criticizing Pinoy Ako Blogger Jover Laurio. Mabanta called her “Ogre Lady and “super ugly.”
The said post was deleted on Mabanta’s Facebook page but netizens took a screenshot as receipt, which has circulated online.
Penshoppe joined international and local celebrities as part of the global campaign against bullying. In a press handout by the brand, Mabanta’s name is not included in the roster of its brand ambassadors.
From the Philippines, ambassadors include Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte, Sofia Andres, Tanner Mata, Maria Fabana, and Emilio Perez. International names include Bella Hadid, Lucky Blue Smith, Kaia Gerber, and Sandara Park.
Other influencers also joined the cause including Alab Pilipinas head coach Jimmy Alapag, She Talks Asia co-founder Vicky Herrera, entrepreneur Patti Grandidge, and signer-songwriter Keiko Necesario.
The said post of Mabanta wearing the #IAmDifferent campaign tee of Penshoppe drew negative reactions, with some saying that it is ironic for a “bully” to be espousing an anti-bullying campaign.
Meanwhile, here are some the netizens’ reactions regarding the issue:
For choosing a bully as a PR campaign personality, #BoycottPenshoppe!
— Edwin Galvez (@EdwinGalvez) October 26, 2017
I will no longer buy penshoppe products because of their one “bully ambassador” kuno… #boycottPenshoppe
— jaime caccam (@CaccamJaime) October 26, 2017
Like having Harvey Weinstein as a guest speaker in a Gabriela event. #boycottpenshoppe
— Kowboy Santos (@KowboySantos) October 25, 2017
— Bart Guingona (@guingonabart) October 26, 2017
— Madam Claudia (@MadamClaudiaAko) October 26, 2017
— Z (@thezyrable) October 24, 2017
Meanwhile, Laurio of Pinoy Ako Blog also posted in her blog a receipt of a chat exchange indicating that a Penshoppe staff clarified that Mabanta is not an endorser of the brand.
The screenshot of the online conversation further indicated that Mabanta just “attended as a guest who wanted to support the event. Actually, he was a guest of a guest.”
“Hopefully this will not dilute the good message of the campaign,” the message from Penshoppe concluded.