Call out and “cancelledt” culture is a double-edged sword. It can get toxic real fast by making the act of calling out less about education and more about asserting self-righteousness. But it also pushes us to ask: should the public separate public figures from their political beliefs? Moira Dela Torre agreeing to do the celebration for Ferdinand Marcos’ 101 birth anniversary celebration last weekend answers this.
Normally, no one outside the “Solid North” would give a shit about the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ 101 birth anniversary. But this changed after people caught wind that Moira Dela Torre headlined an event for Marcos.
Appropriately called “Marcos Fest,” the three-day birthday celebration was disturbing and a desperate attempt at making Marcos accessible to Millenials. Some of the activities included a “vlogmaking” contest, a “contemporary quartet dance competition,” and a free Marcos-themed concert featuring popular singer-songwriter Moira Dela Torre.
So when the Internet caught a wind of this, Twitter users were quick to call her out for agreeing to perform.
It's been two years. I've seen more things, i've learned more. I deleted it because that came from a time when I didn't know any better.😞 This Marcos Fest was supposed to be called I-Millenial Fest. I AM NOT A MARCOS APOLOGETIC. Never will i be.
— Moira Dela Torre (@moirarachelle4) September 15, 2018
Twitter users questioned Moira’s political standpoint. Before the weekend, there was Moira’s two-year-old tweet about Duterte’s presidency as “God’s plan,” followed by another about performing in “Marcos Fest.”
Moira was quick to defend herself. She claimed that the organizers tricked her into believing it was an “I-Millennial Fest” instead but receipts and call outs about her possibly feigning ignorance started pouring in from both pro- and anti-Marcos camps.
LOOK: Moira dela Torre reacted to this Facebook post that says "Marcos Fest" on September 7th. @moirarachelle4, you knew it was for Ferdinand Marcos days before the actual event. pic.twitter.com/k5GgoQwF2o
— Noel Soriano (@noelontheroad) September 16, 2018
actually instead of attacking or “cancelling” Moira for not knowing any better regarding the event, can we put all the blame on the organizers instead who did not disclose the festival would be for Marcos, the dictator.
And sa totoo, she has managers handling her bookings. https://t.co/n7WR4diiYi
— Renzo Lumanog (@renzorg) September 16, 2018
We ask: is Moira a Marcos apologist?
We reached out to Moira for her thoughts about the matter. Moira and her management have yet to respond to our request for a statement as of press time. We reached out to Jericho Timbol to enlighten us. His sister and Moira are churchmates. He and Moira also linger in the same “churchy” social circle. But that didn’t stop him from calling her out on this incident.
“Many people tried calling her out, pero sa akin lang talaga siya nag-reply,” he explained to us. “I actually muted the tweet because I’m quite affected by it,” he confessed. “Someone even told me; ‘You ruined her career.’”
What this incident teaches us is that one’s personal beliefs cannot be considered separate from the public figure. They’re just not mutually exclusive. And as it goes for public figures like her, her actions speak volumes about who she is as a musician and as a person.
“My sister told me that she is really a nice person, kaya nga I really felt bad about [calling her out.] I do not celebrate someone else’s misfortunes. However, she should face this and be better,” he said. “I can’t separate Manny the boxer from Manny the politician. Also, I cannot separate Lea as an artist from her as a Marcos apologist. I can’t stand watching Senator Sotto in Eat Bulaga knowing that he’s a plagiarist and a misogynist.”
“Woke Twitter is calling it ‘cancel culture.’ We cancel those who go against our morals, perhaps. We often correct our ways if we are being reprimanded. So if no one called her out, she probably wouldn’t address the ‘Marcos Fest’ incident,” he finished his statement.
Is she a Marcos apologist? She performed in a pro-Marcos event, sang with Imee Marcos, and did what all the “receipts” indicated. But it’s more complicated than that.
She had the choice to not participate in the event. She also had the choice not to address the allegations toward her. But she still performed in a Marcos event regardless of saying she’s not a “Marcos apologetic.” So apologists? No. Enabler? Definitely.
It’s hard to ignore political standpoints. This incident shows that politics and people aren’t exclusive at all. Moira’s position as a person of influence isn’t an exception to this. Politics is always personal. Tolerance toward an issue might as well be considered as ignorance.
This is a stepping stone for all of us to understand something important in this age of social justice. Remaining neutral doesn’t cut it in terms of political matters. Our choices have political weight whether we like it or not. People of influence do not excuse them from that.
Art by Nikka Arreola