Our Obsession of Sex Videos

Katrina Halili and Hayden Kho answer the Senate during their much-publicized inquiry.
Katrina Halili and Hayden Kho answer the Senate during their much-publicized inquiry.

It was not long ago when the nation was rocked by a much-publicized scandal between three prominent people: two very famous doctors and an actress at the peak of her career. The scandal was the leak of several sex tapes that involved the well-known cosmetologist Dr. Hayden Kho and the actress Katrina Halili. Allegedly, these were recorded by Kho, who was at that time was in a high-profile relationship with another celebrity cosmetics doctor: Vicky Belo.

The coverage of the saga was ridiculously comprehensive: front page headlines on nationwide publications, round-the-clock news updates and a ludicrous Senate inquiry. The attention politicians, showbusiness and the media poured on it was extravagant. It was almost like they forgot to ask themselves the obvious question: do the Filipino people actually care about this issue? Or better yet, was it our most important concern during that time?

To answer the latter question, it certainly was not. The events unfolded on May 20 in the year 2009 which was the height of the AH1N1 pandemic, while other national governments were focused on securing their borders from a possible infection the Philippine Senate had their hands full with a couple of attention-seeking celebrities who could not keep their hands off each other. Very strange if you ask me. Inevitably, just two days later the Philippines recorded its’ first case of the deadly flu virus.

In a post I recently published, you will see that I argued that our nation forgets the important incidents too quickly whenever another major story takes over the headlines. The sex scandal proved exactly that, just a few months before the sex videos went viral the Filipino people were following the investigations of the ‘Alabang Boys’ controversy. It is hard to find a Filipino who can still recall the details of this story today, but funny enough almost the entire population were furious of how three young men who all came from prominent and wealthy families were able to pay their way out of a drug trafficking charge. A huge contrast to what the fate a lower-income class Filipino with the same charge would look like. Sure enough, as the case became forgotten by the public two years later all three of them were acquitted.

Convicting these spoiled brats of a crime that would mete out capital punishment in other countries was going to be a strong and concrete statement that there was equal justice in the Philippines. Instead it became a proof that there was not. Everyone could have done something about it, the reason why the boys seemed doomed to serve time was because of the attention given by the public on the case. That all disappeared when the media devoted their airtime on the Halili-Kho scandal instead, an issue that would have no implications on the needy Filipino or on national security.

It’s baffling how precious government resources would be poured on these fringe issues, resources which are already stretched to begin with. It can be understood though why ordinary citizens would be keen to follow such issues, celebrity scandals are hard to ignore and society has an impulse to scrutinize famous people for their dirt. But elected, tax-paid, civil serving government officials have an obligation to the public to serve their needs, not their buzz. Finding out who leaked the videos online would not bring a rollback on gasoline or build classrooms. Isn’t it more relevant to craft laws than to worry about derelict celebrities, because you know – that is what they are elected for.

In the United States, the sex scandal former President Clinton was involved took headlines because it involved the head of state and he was answerable to an impeachment case for wrong conduct. This is understandable. But notice, the Paris Hilton sex tapes nor the Hulk Hogan or the Kim Kardashian sex videos all escaped coverage by CNN or FOX News. Rightly so, they had nothing to do with the lives of Americans. The common demographic that would be enticed to follow those controversies are the 18-25 year olds who are yet to taste responsibility.

Our country’s media outlets need to address as well why they would focus on these topics, and I don’t mean the gossip media I mean the newsroom journalists who have better things to worry about. It is true that these generate immense ratings, but if newscasters are only concerned about ratings then we are doomed as a nation indeed.  Several sex videos have followed since 2009, and without fail they have shared coverage with the jueteng scandal, the Corona trials, the trial of Gloria Arroyo and other more important and relevant issues. Do they not get that the Filipino has a short attention span and can only take in one issue at a time?

It’s almost as if our media see these sex scandals as food, their source of nourishment and satisfaction. But do take note that only two kinds of people are obsessed with food: the anorexic and the obese. That precisely is the media in a nutshell.







Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s