March 1st, 2012
06:55 AM GMT
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.
“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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