March 1st, 2012
06:55 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - The men’s magazine FHM has come under fire again after a saucy cover of Filipina actress Bela Padilla was claimed as racist.

The cover shows fair-skinned Padilla coming forward of a group of dark-skinned Filipina models with the caption, “Bela Padilla stepping out of the shadows.”

Padilla is not the first case of Asian FHM covers launching controversies. In December last year, Pakistani actress Veena Malik (shown above) appeared on the Indian edition of FHM, wearing nothing but the tattoo bearing the initials ISI, the acronym for the Pakistan’s inter-services Intelligence agency.

Malik said that that FHM doctored the cover to show her without clothes. FHM India said Malik was aware of the conditions and approved the photographs.

The local FHM publisher in the Philippines, Summit Media, dumped the March cover in favor of a less controversial Padilla shot after the company previewed the racy cover on its Facebook page last Saturday, triggering heated reaction on social media and the magazine’s website.

On the internet platform, more than 300 people called for FHM to recall the cover and apologize.

“A cover starring Bela Padilla `stepping out of the shadows’ would be uncontroversial, if the shadows weren't black models,” Filipino Victor Bautista, creator of the petition, said.

“The cover is a modern rendition of a regressive form of discrimination, and should thus be brought to utmost scrutiny.”

Michelle Renee See tweeted on Monday “DISGUSTING representation of #colorism and #racism in the Philippines!”

Meanwhile FHM has posted an apology on its website, saying that the editorial had to “re-examine the cover so that we could put into context its execution and assuage the concerns of our readers and non-readers as well who've weighed in on the issue.”

“In our pursuit to come up with edgier covers, we will strive to be more sensitive next time,” the apology said.

Padilla said in an interview with BBC she was proud of the cover they did, saying that racism “was totally out of our heads.”

She said she was surprised of the widespread negative feedback because “we had no intentions of discriminating anyone in any way.”

According to Padilla, FHM wanted to make a ‘coming-of-age’ sort of article — that’s why they chose that caption.”

On Monday she tweeted “I meant no harm with this cover. I'm so sorry to everyone who got offended. I hope all of you see the beauty of the cover and appreciate it.”

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Filed under: AsiaBusiness

soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Peter

    She is HOT!

    March 1, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  2. Democrazyman

    She is beautiful.. I like to do her.

    March 1, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  3. darkmax

    Overly sensitive bunch of idiots with color-coated lenses. If you have no prejudice, there will be no controversy.

    March 1, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  4. nscsk

    It's just Asia's obsession, with being "white" or more realistic being European, specially the Philippines, Filipinos are obsess on being Spanish or European. Oh well, an over populated area can't really send all of its citizens to the Psychologist.
    Sucks for them they don't what they are, but who does ??? I mean in fashion shows you only see two Asian models and the rest are European, Brazilian, or African. That contributes to self hate and feeling self consciousnesses.

    Bye Bye racist chop sticks >_<

    March 1, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  5. ShadowSnw

    Pics plz

    March 1, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  6. panda

    a white surrounded by blacks = racist
    a black surrounded by whites = progressive

    March 1, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  7. jeff

    Funny thing is they are all the same race, so it's not really racism, just self-esteem issues.

    March 1, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  8. aurelius

    The Philippines has one precious asset, and not many more. It is their women. Men are totally useless. Have lived and worked here for 27 years.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  9. Living Lavida Loca

    racism? it doesnt even have a proper translation or word in Filipino language. It doesnt exist in Filipino culture. So stop you racial rants.. because Filipinos are one of most hospitable people in the planet.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  10. pansitkanton

    There is no racism in the Philippines, only ethnic discrimination. People in the country just shrug to this fiasco and think of it as art. If a dark skinned girl is in the spotlight amidst white girls, that's still art. Making this issue a fuss is plain petty and immature for international media such as CNN.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  11. aurelius

    Right, there is no discrimination, but many liars and thieves starting with politicians all the way down the social ladder. But it's part of the culture, not a sin as we tend to treat it.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  12. yesitsme2

    People interpret things differently. It may be racist for some, a form of art for others, yet regardless of what people think the bottom line is, the more controversies for FHM, the better for the magazine.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  13. filipinoproud

    To those who commented against the Filipino please specify the names of those people that you are referring to. not all filipino are racist. FILIPINO AND PROUD lodemer carpina of cebu city

    March 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  14. Jack

    Many Asian females go out of their way and spend millions on attempts to get their skin whiter. It is psychological hang-up. What they do not understand is many and perhaps most Western guys prefer a woman with darkened skin. If only people would be satisfied with what they were born with.

    March 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  15. sam

    haha, this is sooooo racist. i mean look how demeaning it is! it clearly points out that people with darker skin have... darker skin... and.... yeah, but it's RACIST! because... um...

    March 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  16. George

    Having a white skin does not a white make if you dont have a pointy nose and round can dream all you want, but you wont be considered white.

    March 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  17. Timus

    I feel sorry for the self demeaning Asian person whose idea this was.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  18. Fritz Hohenheim

    My god, get a life people. Aren't there more important things to worry about that the shade of some people on a swimsuit magazine?

    March 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  19. TingTong Ling

    She make love wong time to you and give you happy ending

    March 1, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  20. TingTong Ling


    March 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  21. Victor

    You know we Filipinos is as not as black as these women. These women are as black as charcoal hahahaha

    March 2, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  22. Beefburger

    Alas, it is true. Filapinas are always trying to lighten their skin. Always using that stupid papaya soap. I am married to a Filapina and just dont understand why they are so adamant about this. The girl who is the lead singer of M.Y.M.P. was a dark skinned super-cutie when they released "Tell Me Where it Hurts", now she has lightened her skin and looks like a generic pop star.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  23. T


    March 2, 2012 at 3:33 am |
  24. pineapplebaby

    yeah..what's the matter of having morena skin...Filipina's were not black! i swear to that...dont they know that having morena skin in this white dominated country are the most pretty women...just be contented, God has its reasons why he gave us this kind of color....and pls stop sweeping in general that racist stuff..

    March 2, 2012 at 3:39 am |
  25. whatever

    Wow a white or pale skinned person on a cover with black or dark skinned people, must be racism........ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????? Most people including myself would never have considered the darker skinned models to be inferior, it was just artistic, why the hell does everyone have to be so sensitive.

    March 2, 2012 at 4:43 am |
  26. jAY

    Who cares?

    March 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  27. Lanz


    March 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  28. el-monster

    lol. it may be true that we filipinos are "obsess" to have fairer skin.. but it doesn't mean that we like to be "white people", it's just for enhancing the beauty. and we are not actually racist, racism is NOT in our vocabulary. and and look at yourself first before judging other people.
    Who's the racist now?

    NOTE: Whatever color we have, we FILIPINOS are BEAUTIFUL.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  29. TingTong Ling

    Me Firipino gul – rove u wong time

    March 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  30. pppsssshhh

    haters gonna hate. just make filipinos more popular. and because we're actually beautiful.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  31. rickmeister

    It's the fashion world that portrays beauty as white, blonde, blue eyed, skinny and 10 feet tall. Young girls from third world countries would equate these characteristics as the epitomy of beauty so they would of course, emulate it. Instead of blaming FHM or the Filipinos, blame the fashion industry in Madison Ave or Paris.

    March 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  32. CharliePrince

    there are other girls in the picture? Bela Padilla is Beautful, can't take my eyes off her.. or maybe it's that skimpy bikini :) not sure yet

    March 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  33. Bill Renfrew

    If people who wanted to be treated equally were to quit pointing out the differences between themselves and others, racism would simply fade away. It's YOU who keep remininding us you're not "white" or "light skinned". For me the color of your skin is a non issue. With you that's obviously not the case. For you it's a HUGE issue that you have to keep reminiding me of OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER again. Call yourself a shadow and a shadow you will be. Ever heard of the self-fulfilling prophecy? It's YOU who's being a racist. Why don't you try SHUTTING UP already and stop prolonging the problem, ok?

    March 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  34. TingTong Ling

    I would Pad-ill-a her all night long

    March 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  35. Willie

    The ones that are complaining are the ones with the problem. Ever seen a white shadow? It's not an insult, just a clever use of word play. It's OK to say derogatory things about light skinned people but when someone with a some color to their skin gets a little hypersensitive, the media gets their panties all in a bunch.

    March 3, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  36. JayJay

    They are obsessed with being white in the Philippines. Not just the women, but the guys too who are amongst the most vain in the world. Park your car in a busy outdoor car park and you can almost guarantee that somebody will start fixing their face or their hair in your side mirror. White means sophisticated and affluent to many over there. For a girl to be dark-skinned most will presume she is uneducated, poor and likely from the province.

    March 3, 2012 at 3:14 am |
  37. Dan Onderdonk

    I'm not so sure why there is so much fury over this. Asian cultures don't just ignore this colorism–they actually embrace it. I have tired often until I'm blue in the face to get some of my Asian friends to see how damaging this color obsession is, but they just don't see it the same way. To them it's no different than changing their hair color–they think it's prettier and they are willing to do some dangerous things to achieve the 'look'. Very disturbing. I don't see this obsession changing anytime soon.

    March 3, 2012 at 3:42 am |
  38. Paul

    The ones with self-esteem issues here are the Filipina women and black people.

    March 3, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  39. san pedro

    nscsk ... u mean white people are also psychos inasmuch as they are obsessed in tanning their skin?

    we Filipinos are actually obsessed in trying to survive each day of our lives because of poverty, the resultant extent of over 300 years of spanish and american occupation that took our liberty and wealth!

    March 3, 2012 at 4:59 am |
  40. lyeneil

    The hospitality in the Philippines has its limits. While in the Philippines, Caucasians whether American or European should learn Filipino because you will find out the truth behind the so called "Filipinos looking up to white people".

    Whether you're white, black or asian, behind your back, Filipinos look at them all the same. I saw a fat white guy being made fun at by Filipinas and they're doing it in front of him because he couldn't understand tagalog. I witnessed a Filipina treat a caucasian man rudely because she knows she's financially well off than him. Another Filipina verbally abuses her French boyfriend, cause they're actually equal financially. Another Australian man is constantly demoralized by his Filipina girlfriend because he can't get a better job than her, she eventually left him calling him a loser.

    You get a Filipina who's equal to you and you will see the truth behind it all. However this is rarely observed cause most foreigners get Filipinas from the lower classes who are actually in trouble financially.

    March 3, 2012 at 5:17 am |
  41. Simon

    She is hot and with a bomb, so cool

    March 3, 2012 at 7:41 am |
  42. Mike Flint (@MFlint4360)

    The world is full of murder and war and terror and revolution and genocide, and yet we have time to create issues where certainly no issues were intended...

    Hello? Reality check!

    March 3, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  43. wasso

    She is hot ? After, no doubt, all that cosmetic surgery and facial bleaching, she better be !

    March 3, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  44. Victor

    @lyeneil don't generalize Filipinos maybe there are some but not all, all nationalities have good and bad side so don't judge Filipinos alone. And Africans are really black as charcoal I saw and African here in the Phil. he is really as black as charcoal. Filipina women are not as black as that you know when Filipina married to a white their offspring are really white and beautiful regardless of the Filipina's face, but and African no matter how beautiful her kids will be still as black as her, African blackness can really turn the whole Americas into black because when a white American for instance married to a black African their kids will be still black and in turn the black Americans increasing, I prefer white than black honestly.

    March 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  45. KillAllWhites

    All throughout Asia, light-skinned (not european, as some a$$h0le said) is seen as higher up the food chain in society (working at skilled jobs or being rich), and also prettier. NOBODY wants to be european – PUHLEEEZE!!!

    March 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  46. BeenToPhilippinesAndLovedIt!

    "The Philippines has one precious asset, and not many more. It is their women. Men are totally useless. Have lived and worked here for 27 years."

    March 1, 2012 at 10:09 am |----------------------------



    March 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  47. nscsk

    @Al Mahdi
    Yeah, yeah.
    Try to defend your self, your just another potato queen, LOL.
    And 85% of the Filipino community around the world are dark skin, so that's what I am trying to say, for all of you who commented that Filipinos aren't that dark, you are an example of your obsession with being European.

    Get some help !!!! I am sure many European's want to go and have babies with your women's or gay's.

    March 4, 2012 at 3:00 am |
  48. Victor

    And you nscsk what nationality are you perhaps you are from Africa a home of black people, maybe you hate your color but cannot do anything about it but to accept it. Hahahaha black is really is not good for my eyes. Yes because when they get baby with Filipinas no matter how ugly that Filipina was definitely the result will be pretty baby, that is what Westerner wants with Filipinas unlike you blacccccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkk.

    March 4, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  49. Larry

    Asians are crazy about trying to make themselves look whiter. Umbrellas during the day, whitening face washes, bleaching agents...truly bizarre and unhealthy behaviour. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to the tanning beds, don't want my winter pastiness to return.

    March 4, 2012 at 4:48 am |
  50. Lyeneil

    I wish the Filipinos were looking up to a lighter skin as being American or European. The higher levels of society maybe.

    But for most of the masses, I think they're looking up to "light skin" not as caucasian but oriental. Specifically, looking like the "chinese rich" of the society. Most aspire to look such because they want to be viewed by the society as part of the chinese rich.

    And to be honest, some of the chinese rich in the Philippines are worst than the posters here which makes me a bit sad for that state of affairs.

    March 4, 2012 at 4:55 am |
  51. jose

    idiot comments about filipinas wanting to become light skinned.

    but then ignorance is bliss...

    March 4, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  52. Icloner

    Sue her butt off ,
    Sue her
    Sue her
    Get every penny you can

    March 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  53. Icloner

    @Larry well said

    March 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  54. Icloner

    Asians will do everything to look as white as possible , they want white men , not Chinese , Chinese suck in the b room

    March 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  55. Icloner

    That's not a Chinese , that's plastic surgery

    March 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  56. Victor

    We Filipinos do not admire Chinese we prefer Americans or European to Chinese, we do not like the whiteness of Chinese, somewhat like yellowish.

    March 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  57. Icloner

    Is that a grenade in her hand?

    March 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  58. charles

    That picture is not of the Filipino actress.

    The picture shown is a an FHM cover showing Veena Malik, she was the Pakistani actress that was in the last FHM scandal. Google her name up and you will see.

    March 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  59. tarek

    Thats not Padilla!

    That picture is of Veena Malik...the Pakistani model/actress who was in the last FHM cover...

    March 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  60. Hamid

    Isn't that a picture of Veena Malik? The pakistani actress?

    March 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  61. Asim

    The above is a picture of Pakistani actreess Veena Malik and not of a Filipina actress

    March 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  62. Frank

    Are the donors to aware that their donations go to trolling Asian nations? Apparently there's nothing to address in the US anymore, hope and change have already arrived I guess.

    March 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  63. Victor

    That is not the cover in question

    March 5, 2012 at 3:40 am |
  64. Victor

    The photo above is not the cover magazine in question. This is the cover magazine the is in debate

    March 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  65. Farty McCloud

    Even though the woman pictured above is not related to the story, I would gladly fart all over her face. I'd even give her a slight spackling to cover her a bit to appease offended muslims.

    March 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  66. Georgeofthejungle

    It was an honest snafu, get over it for sheetz sake. The only ones making this into a jessie jackson issue are the ones looking hard for something to be racist...

    March 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  67. sameh

    See the elephant is dying and die a very sad situation

    March 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  68. J.P.

    Wow...this has to be the most stupidest thing ever. So black people can have a whole network BET and even a commerical promoting blacks ONLY dating!? Then certain people blow up a statement in a mag and cry raciest...get over yourselves. This whole raciest bull crap is really getting old! If you lived in the past as a slave I'm sorry for my ancestors...if not grow the eff up! People don't like people for all sorts of reasons and if someone is "raciest" so be it. My God if I keep hearing of people being "offended" over stupid crap like this and pulling that word out of there butts every two seconds I'm probably going to end up hating most! haha People like this make others look bad and thats sad! LIVE LIFE stop worry about everyone around you. SO DUMB!

    March 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  69. aylene


    March 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  70. Lucifer


    March 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  71. AnotherCanuck

    How could this possibly be considered racist? Am I a racist because my eyes can differentiate between two skin tones?

    Racism means treating and viewing others differently because of their race. Racism does not mean acknowledging facts.
    I am white, my skin tone is light. My neighbour is black, his skin tone is dark. We don't treat each other any differently because of this fact, but we're both aware of the fact that my skin is lighter than his, and neither of us are going to get upset about it.

    The people saying racism is subjective are wrong. It's gotten to the point where people are afraid to even recognize our cultural diversities, which should be shared and celebrated.

    If you find this to be racist, I would have to assume that you have some racial hangups yourself, and are trying to conceal them by feigning indignity. Get with the real world people. We're all different. It's not a bad thing to recognize, so long as we understand that we're different AND equal.

    March 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  72. ill


    March 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  73. woodrow

    What's wrong with white people? I like white people. They are less racist than anybody.

    March 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  74. Editor IQ

    It seems more like a statement on how aware the editor is. It's pretty blatant,it's insulting to Blacks or dark skinned
    people. How about: Bella! The Cream in Your Coffee! ... cut it out, I didn't mean that.

    March 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  75. JackWagon

    My 2nd wife was even better looking but she had a uterine prolapse after 23 years so I had to trade her in for a newer model.

    March 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  76. SweetNdian

    A bunch of filipinas are racists. It's the truth that they like lighter skinned people. Filipinos can defend themselves here saying they are not racists etc. I am Indian, and I have seen filipinas desperation to find white guys as boyfriends, especially the rich ones :) I love all different races, God created us equally !!

    March 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  77. Jayce

    I am a dark skinned Filipina. As a child, I grew up with the belief that lighter brown skin was better. Well 30+ yrs later, I find that men (of All colors) are infatuated with my dark brown skin. Skin's just a color!

    March 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  78. the_dude

    Hahahah....everyone in the world views dark skin as less desierable. So sorry......

    March 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  79. From Tokyo

    Some really ignorant comments on here that miss the entire point. Well done. Thank goodness I don't have people in my life who are ignorant like this. There wouldn't be anyone to talk to! <_< God definitely knew what He was doing when He made us different. It could be seen as a test that so many people keep failing.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  80. ailetha

    i am not being ignorant, purposefully dense, or mean, but from reading the article and seeing half or one-third of the image, i am confused about why this is an issue. Somebody used the word shadows and somebody else got mad because they likened 'shadows' to a person? I'm confused. How is that racist? i am genuinely asking because i don't understand how that is a racist term. Plus, all the women in that magazine are always beautiful, every one of them, so again, i'm confused? Someone want to explain this to me in a way that i can understand the offended party's perspective?

    March 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  81. Liam

    Race...?! I am sorry folks, I am only familiary with the HUMAN RACE!! WHAAAAAT...!! Are there people from another world?! Really get a life ALL people are beautiful no matter what part of the planet you are from!! That is my take folks!!!

    March 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  82. Nonya

    People complain about the most non-important things.

    March 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  83. Richard

    I see the God fearin' Americans were too prudish to show the whole FHM cover!!! Pathetic!!

    March 26, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  84. Leila

    Ironically, white women are donning fake tans.

    March 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  85. Leila

    My little boy is Filipino Italian American and he is beautiful. In Hawaii we refer to these mixed children as 'happa' babies. Asians are BEAUTIFUL!

    March 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  86. Max Power


    March 29, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  87. JIM

    Why you guys talking about Filipino liking lighter skin when pink people yes "white people "are not white skinned their more of a pink skin tone get tans all the time going to tanning salons and etc. I'm not Filipino or anything but some white people hold themselves at high regards with there ethnocentrism views and did you guys even realize that woman on the cover is the Pakistani model. I'm surprise of such ignorance on a CNN blog site I have seen much more intelligent people comment on lesser known sites.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
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