Bela Padilla and the snub accusation, and how we shouldn’t treat people like zoo animals

Bela Padilla is defending herself from snubbing accusations from a fan. 

She attended the recent Harry Styles concert that had other celebrities coming out as Harries and joining in the fun. Apparently, Padilla caught the ire of a fan there, as they went on to write in a now-deleted tweet, “Super nakaka-disappoint si Bela kagabi (Bela was very disappointing last night). She was such a c*nt.” The fan elaborated more on their alleged experience in a series of tweets, describing her as “mairap” and saying that she rolled her eyes at people asking for pictures.

The actress, who is starring in the upcoming movie “Yung Libro sa Napanood Ko” that she wrote and directed herself, fired back today.

She recounted taking photos with fans all day, and explained that during that instance she was talking with friends who were uncomfortable with phones being put in their faces and so asked fans to take photos later. “I guess some of you guys couldn’t take no for an answer. ’Di nadin ako makasmile sa pagod at nahiya ako sa mga bagong kasama namin,” Padilla wrote. She added in a follow-up tweet, “When I’m upset because the boundaries of my friends are compromised, I [obviously] won’t smile.” 

She also pointed out that she was at the concert as a fan, too. “I went there to have fun, and I did, I screamed my heart out for Harry and went home happy. If you got to share a real moment with me, I hope you enjoyed it too (I did!) If you treated me like a fish in an aquarium, have a good life.”

Other fans backed her up, and posted their photos with her at the concert.

Parasocial entitlement

This looks like another case of fans feeling entitled to their idol’s time and energy. The fan said that their choice to call her out wasn’t because they didn’t get a photo with Padilla. Still, the fact that they thought a callout for rudeness was appropriate at all is concerning, and it’s hard not to see it as motivated. 

Responding to Padilla’s claim that she was tired, the fan wrote, “Being tired doesn’t justify the fact na pwede ka nalang magsuplada sa lahat ng taong tuwang-tuwa makita ka.” It’s a masterclass on missing the point.

You are not entitled to your favorite actor’s kindness. The truth is that Padilla didn’t have to explain herself. It wasn’t a Bela Padilla meet and greet, but a mega concert of an artist that she liked. Who doesn’t get just a little bit cranky at huge concerts? Be honest.

Celebrities are held to a weird moral standard, especially these days. They don’t just have to conform to the image their fans have of them. They also have to be saints, moral paragons of virtue that cannot do or say anything bad. At times, this relationship between the public and celebrity might seem like it’s for the better—fans might be quicker to call out artists for serious offenses like sexual harassment—but I’m uneasy. Should all kinds of behaviors be put on blast like this? And even in the case of sexual harassment, fans are also just as easily susceptible to doubling down on their fave. (A sliver of a hint that they may be innocent, and it’s “look at the poor victim who had been lied about and painted a villain, isn’t it so inspiring that they’re pushing through?”)

And that doesn’t include the inherent dehumanization in celebrity culture. It’s easy to discount this problem because the people facing it are, well, materially wealthy and famous—and yes, for sure, even I’m rolling my eyes just a little bit—but this has cost lives. How many stars have died because of the way fans and the media hounded them like they’re not a person? And how much does all of this disproportionately affect female stars?

I don’t know. Would it be better if we allowed celebrities to be messy and bitchy and rude? Maybe, but I also don’t want that to mean elevating people who’ve exhibited problematic behavior, either. I only think we would all be better off if we allowed for celebrities to be human, and not zoo animals to be gawked at.


Photo screengrabbed from “Spellbound” trailer

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Zofiya Acosta: Zofiya, editor, cat parent, and Very Online™️ person, has not had a good night’s sleep since 2016. They love movies and TV and could spend their whole life talking about how 2003’s “Crying Ladies” is the best movie anyone’s ever made.