ABS-CBN’s Gretchen Fullido files sexual harassment, libel charges against two company execs

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DAVAO CITY (October 7)— A show business anchor of ABS-CBN filed sexual harassment and libel charges against current and former ABS-CBN news executives Friday.

Gretchen Fullido, ABS-CBN anchor and reporter, filed this afternoon a sexual harassment case against Cheryl C. Favila, former ABS-CBN News Executive, and Maricar P. Asprec, ABS-CBN News Segment Producer. The case was filed before the City Prosecutors’ Office of Quezon City.”

Fullido’s lawyer Marvin Aceron, posted a statement on Facebook about the case.

Aceron said that Fullido alleged that the executives sent her text messages “loaded with sexual innuendos, which amounted to requests for sexual favors.” Fullido rejected their advances, and that this cycle went on for almost three years, the lawyer said.

Fullido also filed libel cases against ABS-CBN executives Cecilia Drilon and Venancio Borromeo, and news reporter Marie Lozano, for allegedly stating that the sexual harassment complaint was meant to leverage Fullido’s employment status with the TV network.

“Fullido in her Complaint Affidavit also said Drilon resorted to victim shaming and imputed statements that Fullido deserved to be harassed, since Fullido allegedly, was willing to wear a bikini with an inflatable pool with bubbles to shove up the ratings of TV Patrol, a leading daily news program,” the lawyer added.

ABS-CBN Showbiz anchor Gretchen Fullido.-Photo from the post of Atty. Marvin B. Aceron

ABS-CBN Statement

But the television giant, ABS-CBN In a statement, ABS-CBN said it respected Fullido’s right to file a court case.

“Now that she has filed charges with the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office, we expect all parties to allow the legal process to take its course,” the network said, adding that it did not condone sexual harassment in the workplace or by its employees.

“ABS-CBN respects the right of news anchor and reporter Gretchen Marie Fullido to bring her sexual harassment complaint to the courts.

“Now that she has filed charges with the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office, we expect all parties to allow the legal process to take its course.

“ABS-CBN takes sexual harassment seriously and does not condone such acts in the workplace or by its employees.

“When Ms. Fullido filed an administrative case against a supervising producer and a segment producer for alleged sexual harassment in November 2017, the company took prompt action on the administrative complaint and decided based on the evidence presented.”

Drilon’s denial 

Drilon on Saturday denied the allegations made by Fullido.

In a statement she posted on Twitter, Drilon said: “As a victim of sexual harassment once before, it is unthinkable for me to say what Gretchen Fullido alleges I did.”

She added, “I encourage and support women to exercise their right to come out with truthful stories of harassment and abuse and I would never belittle any such move.”

Drilon also claimed that her testimony during the internal investigation has been distorted.

“I reserve the right to consider legal proceedings against these false allegations and attack on my reputation. Again, I would never belittle any woman coming out to speak of any abuse committed against her. It is against everything I stand for as a woman,” she said.

‘Example of discrimination vs LGBTQ individuals’

“You know, for a long, long time after the experience, I could still smell the room, whenever I remembered. So I was pulled by my boss and kissed… with tongue… in my mouth,” Fullido was quoted as saying in a Metro Style article.

The counsel of Favila and Asprec found it unfortunate the Fullido has chosen to file a criminal complaint against her client despite the company’s dismissal of the sexual harassment case.

“The dismissal came about after Favila and Asprec proved that the text messages that Fullido used as evidence were distorted and maliciously taken out of their conversation threads,” lawyer Evalyn Ursua said in a statement Saturday.

Last July, ABS-CBN  dismissed  Favila after she was found liable for gross misconduct,  but the sexual harassment complaint against her was dismissed.

Ursua said Fullido’s “baseless” sexual harassment complaint involves personal, professional and political matters and an example of discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.

“The prevailing homophobia in society results in a stereotyped belief that women of same-sex sexual orientation indiscriminately go after any woman or are prone to sexually harass other women,” Ursua said.

Harassment inside the Newsrooms

In a report written by Taylor Mulcahey published by International Journalists Network, last  April 24, 2018, it stated  “Most media organizations don’t even do sexual harassment trainings,” said Kelly McBride, vice president of the Poynter Institute. “Of the trainings that exist, most seem ineffective. We want to develop a training that is rooted in the core values of journalism. Rather than tell people to behave themselves, we want to teach leaders how to build a more equitable newsroom.”

Burgess said their biggest initiative will be to conduct a large, six-month study across newsrooms around the country in order to better understand the culture and make data-driven recommendations.

“More research about the status of female journalists and the conditions under which they work is needed,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), who is partnering with Press Forward on the initiative. “Without facts and figures to back up the anecdotal evidence we have heard over the years, it becomes difficult to impart the impact of the problem and to propose solutions.”-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLinew.ph


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