Coco Martin issues apology for Bench brouhaha, stands to lose 3 major endorsement contracts

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Coco Martin is reportedly on the verge of losing three major endorsement contracts if he fails to appease women’s groups who cried foul over his allegedly sexist segment during the hugely controversial The Naked Truth Bench denim and underwear fashion show on September 20.

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Martin, a matinee idol, has been bombarded with criticisms for emerging on the runway pulling a woman on a leash—supposedly depicting a wild feline—in the circus themed production.

Earlier today, Martin, through his legal counsel Atty. Lorna Kapunan and talent manager Biboy Arboleda expressed his side over the issue, and said the record straight that he did not intend to be part of an act that is derogatory to women. Nevertheless, the actor—who was unable to attend his own press conference due to taping commitments—issued a public apology through an official statement.

The Manila Times obtained a copy of Martin’s official press statement through the Kapunan, Garcia & Castillo Law Offices, parts of which are printed below:

“During the segment entitled ‘The Animal Within Me,’ Mr. Martin appeared on stage and walked with a woman on a leash. Bench clarified that the woman was actually a member of a Canadian Circus Troupe who played the role of a cat while Mr. Martin portrayed the role of a Circus Master. This scene was found offensive, particularly to women.

“Mr. Martin sincerely expresses his apology and requests the public for understanding. [He] equally feels bad about the incident and saddened at the thought that he unwittingly offended the public.

“While offering no excuse and admits that a mistake has been made, Mr. Martin wants to set the record straight about the incident. Mr. Martin has an existing contract with Bench to model its apparels and this same contract obliges him to appear in fashion shows for Bench.

“Nevertheless, Mr. Martin, nor his manager or staff, was not involved in the conceptualization of the production of the Naked Truth Show nor the segment entitled ‘The Animal Within Me.’ He only appeared once for a rehearsal which was a day prior to the show, and it was only then that the role, as a ring master, was given to him.

“During the rehearsal most of the people on stage were foreigners and even the choreographer was a foreigner. Mr. Martin wanted to voice out his concern, particularly with the leash strapped on the neck of the lady model, but he failed to successfully communicate his thought because of the language barrier.

“Mr. Martin kept mum on his opinion on the matter because it was impressed upon him that the whole show was already finalized and he felt insignificant as to cause a scene and demand an overhaul of the entire segment.

“Mr. Martin feels extremely sorry for what transpired and admitted that this incident taught him a major lesson to be more sensitive and mindful of the repercussions of his portrayals.

“Let it be clarified, however, that Mr. Martin did not have the slightest intention on his mind to insult women by this single unfortunate act. Mr. Martin has high regard for women just as he respects and loves his mother, his grandmother, and his three sisters.

“Mr. Martin humbly asks for the public’s understanding and assures the public that he will no longer allow himself to be obliged to participate in a similar insensitive portrayal.”

Besides the public apology, Martin’s manager also said that the actor plans to meet personally with women’s groups, among them Gabriella and the Philippine Commission on Women, to show the sincerity of his statement, and to find out if there is any way he can support their advocacies in his capacity.

As for the endorsement contracts the actor stands to lose over the unfortunate incident, his camp said they will name the companies in due time, if indeed they will pullout of existing agreements.

As of January 2014, Martin, a wholesome dramatic actor, listed the following endorsements in his Star Magic profile: Nescafe, Max’s Fried Chicken, Globe/TM, Belo, Boardwalk, RDL Papaya Soap, Wade shoes, Bench apparel and fragrances, My Dentist, Cebuana Lhuillier, Argentina Corned Beef, Neozep and MyPhone.

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