Hordes of irate Filipino users and buyers call to mass-uninstall or delete the Shopee app after the company teased the identity of its newest celebrity ambassador in a tweet that received a large engagement.
Shopee is no stranger to controversy. It may not have an official spokesperson yet, but it’s already creating waves with its latest announcement: Toni Gonzaga as its brand ambassador.
The singer-host-actress sparked controversy when she left her hosting stint on Pinoy Big Brother, the ABS-CBN show she hosted for 16 years to campaign for then-former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in the May presidential election. Marcos also served as godfather at her marriage to director Paul Soriano.
Despite strong opposition from fans and netizens alike, Gonzaga persisted with her decision to support Marcos—a move that many Filipinos saw as treasonous and disrespectful towards their country’s electoral process. Some even went as far as calling for a boycott against Shopee’s products until Gonzaga’s contract is terminated by Shopee management.
Gonzaga herself has remained silent about this issue since then; however, it looks like she has been listening to what consumers have been saying about her work ethics and loyalty to Bongbong Marcos.
Gonzaga, the ‘unbothered queen’ of the entertainment industry, has come under fire for hosting the Marcos-Duterte proclamation rally. Netizens and members of the entertainment industry slammed Gonzaga for claiming her “unbothered queen” status in the face of criticism for hosting the Marcos-Duterte proclamation rally in February. That rally also introduced the pair’s senatorial slate — among them House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, who pushed for the denial of ABS-CBN’s license renewal, Gonzaga’s home network and the biggest broadcaster in the Philippines. The closure of ABS-CBN after their 25-year franchise was rejected at the House of Representatives led to some 11,000 employees losing their jobs.
The fact that Shopee’s news appears to have been made at the wrong moment and coincides with the company’s announcement of a significant reduction in worker size was also brought up by a number of users.
“Officially deleted my Shopee account. My kid shared a story from when she was in a coffee shop last Tues. & laid off employees came in crying. I can’t support a company that lays off people in order to pay for an endorser who proudly approves of wrongdoing. Politicians et al.😡”, says one netizen.
“Shopee Philippines firing a bunch of its employees then hiring a major apologist who charges a talent fee in the millions is some next-level yikes.”, exclaimed by another Twitter user.
As of the time of writing, almost 18,900 quote tweets had been sent in response to Shopee’s teaser post, compared to just 2,800 likes. The program was removed, according to many commenters, who also urged others to do the same.
A number of fans screenshotted the comment section, explaining why they were cancelling their accounts and criticizing Gonzaga as a “enabler” for the company’s latest choice for brand ambassador.
With almost 282,000 tweets, Shopee dominated the Philippine Twitter trends. With over 33,400 tweets, Lazada, its main rival, also made an appearance on Twitter’s trends list after many users declared they would move after Shopee’s disastrous marketing campaign.
Redditors also shared screenshots of Shopee’s release of a survey form that requested participants to “answer a few questions about celebrities or influencers” in an apparent attempt to save face at the last minute.
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