We have BBC in our Dream satellite subscription but I have never seen the “Harry and Paul” show. In fact, I’ve never heard of Henry Enfield until today and only because the show has the become the subject of an official protest by the Philippine government.
The scene, first broadcast on 26 September, was part of a running joke in which a family from the south of England treats a northern man like a pet dog.
“Our chums up the road wanted to see if they could mate their Filipino maid with our northerner,” said Enfield’s character as the maid danced provocatively in his garden.
After the performance failed to have the desired effect, Enfield shouted: “Come on, Clyde, mount her.”
In the Philippines, foreign secretary Alberto Romulo, summoned British ambassador Peter Beckingham to discuss the broadcast. [BBC]
The Philippine embassy in London has lodged a written complaint with BBC.
Meanwhile, a group called the Philippine Foundation (never heard of it before, either) has launched a petition claiming that the show was “inciting stereotyped racial discrimination, vulgarity and violation of the maid’s human rights”.
Okay, from what I’ve read, the joke is tasteless. No wonder I’ve never heard of the show before — I don’t watch trashy shows. But violation of the maid’s human rights? Isn’t the maid in question a CHARACTER played by an actress? How can there be human rights violation when the subject is a fictional character? In fact, if the actress who portrayed the maid is, in fact, a Filipina, shouldn’t she be a target of the rage too? She willingly played the part, after all, including that specific scene so there’s a reasonable assumption there that she didn’t feel there was anything objectionable about it.
I can understand the rage but I don’t necessarily agree that this needs to be a “Desperate Housewives” scenario all over again. A few nights ago, I saw a Hallmark TV movie called “Human Traffickers” (starring Mira Sorvino and Donald Sutherland) where the Philippines was portrayed as a willing host to an international sex slavery ring. Filipino policemen were called corrupt and the physical appearance of the country was represented as one huge slum area. And the segments that supposedly happened here were actually shot in Thailand, for goodness’ sakes. I didn’t hear anyone raising hell about that despite obvious attempts at stereotyping.
It just seems to be that all hell only breaks loose when the butt of jokes are OFWs. Malu Fernandez. Desperate Housewives. Now, this “Harry and Paul.” So, what’s this? OFWs are off limits to any kind of reference other than praises?