Over the past week, the internet has been stirred up by the continuous exposé stories of local sexual predators online. Waves of tweets crashed in with high tides, determined to put an end to all the misogyny, sexual harassment, and all the abuse the victims have gone through.
A horrifying reveal of an artist’s true ‘paths, points, and colors’
The stories started to roll in when Jan Heenan, a 17-year-old student from Australia, unveiled her experience with vector artist Justin Remalante. Knowing that she was a minor, Remalante still continued to send her sexually explicit messages, suggestive of the acts that they should do when they’re together, and even stated his “kink” towards women younger than him.
i want to make girls aware of predatory men on twitter who hide behind popular individuals on twitter to promote his art and at the same time prey on girls
here is my experience with him, he’s well aware that i’m only 17
exhibit a: pic.twitter.com/5Ndg0VWEO5
— YES❤💛💚💙💜 (@jughnn) November 19, 2017
“I want to make girls aware of predatory men on twitter who hide behind popular individuals on twitter to promote his art and at the same time prey on girls here is my experience with him, he’s well aware that I’m only 17.”
Heenan has also posted about the issue on her Facebook account.
“Justin started off complimenting my art, as he does with other girls and if not, your body. He profits from making commissions and making connections with popular individuals from twitter to promote his art and prey on girls.
The fact that he knows that most of us were minors says something and is alarming in itself. Being open about sex and your sexuality isn’t an invitation to be suggestive. Conversations with him are awkward and he always brings the topic to sex.”
After these series of posts & tweets, more girls started to open up and came forward with their own set of horrors with the artist.
Identities of the senders have been kept anonymous.
Another minor also came forward with her experience with Remalante.
Remalante’s works became prominent on social media as his vector artworks were shared and retweeted by online personalities, as some of them were the subject of said artworks. Online bloggers and influencers also expressed their utmost dismay in lieu of the situation. Camie Juan, Reese Lansangan, Saab Magalona and Jeline Catt—whom he made artworks of—all released statements regarding the issue.
Young STAR has also issued their stance.
Remalante has stated his apologies via Twitter.
“I’ve realized na may problem and I will now be seeking help. I apologize to those who were victimized and to everyone concerned. Not because I got caught or because panget effect sakin but because I now fully understand the problem na di maffix ng ganon lang. I am genuinely sorry,” Remalante stated in his last active tweet.
Sources claim that he also lies about his age. He also has a history of disrespecting and emotionally blackmailing women which dates as early as 2010. There are accounts sharing their experiences wherein Remalante would constantly blame the other party and manipulate them into thinking that it was their fault and making them believe that he’s the victim.
‘Hitting’ the wrong notes
Another case of artists conducting sexual misbehavior towards women has been unboxed. Student activist Addie Onday, known as @_tapsilog on Twitter, initiated a thread which revealed some of the local indie bands’ misbehavior and predatory tendencies.
I want to talk about misogyny, sexism, and predatory/manipulative behavior in the local independent music scene in my experiece.
— MARCOS HITLER DIKTADOR TUTA MARCOS HITLER DIKTADOR (@_tapsilog) November 21, 2017
Sam Valenia, guitarist of Jensen and the Flips, confirmed one of the allegations against him and issued the following statement:
“Yup. Ako to.
I am really sorry sa mga taong na-offend ko at na-disappoint sa akin because of this post and because of what I did. I respect yall’s opinions. I know this ain’t enough but again, I am really sorry.”
Yup. Ako to.
I am really sorry sa mga taong na-offend ko at na-disappoint sa akin because of this post and because of what I did. I respect yall’s opinions. I know this ain’t enough but again, I am really sorry. https://t.co/ijfPbZAhsc
— sarcasam (@SamuelValenia) November 21, 2017
Withdrawn from music gigs & concerts
In lieu of this confirmation from Valenia, Vandals on the Wall also kicked them out of their year-end concert production, The Rest is Noise.
From Vandals On The Wall’s Twitter @vandalsondwall
SUD were also withdrawn from UP Fair 2018’s lineup.
“My team has alerted me of sexual harassment allegations of the band’s members on Twitter. As an org who values and advocates for women and their rights, we cannot tolerate these kinds of behavior,” states the message.
— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) November 24, 2017
Apologies and stances issued
Members from each bands have conveyed their statements:
— Jensen and The Flips (@JensenXFlips) November 22, 2017
Jimbo Cuenco, SUD’s drummer, apologized via DM as shared by Twitter user @mcaviray.
— tin (@mcaviray) November 22, 2017
Additionally, Ang Bandang Shirley was also put into spotlight after allegations of sexual harassment were made against some of the members.
Here is the band’s official statement:
A statement from Owel, Ean, Joe and the band pic.twitter.com/5V3xRoJW0O
— Ang Bandang Shirley (@thebandshirley) November 24, 2017
MilesExperience is yet to release a statement via their official accounts as of writing.
It has been no surprise to BP Valenzuela, another musician in the local scene, that these stories have surfaced as she has spoken out about this issue and warned people of this beforehand (READ: Whose pleasure?: Putting the male gaze on the cover [From CNN Philippines]).
told u so
— bp ✾꒡ .̮ ꒡✾ (@valenzuelabp) November 22, 2017
in any industry, there are creeps. in a highly masculine and toxic one like the one i’m a part of, there are many
— bp ✾꒡ .̮ ꒡✾ (@valenzuelabp) October 19, 2017
someone once said on a bus i was in at an out of town gig “man of the night, _____!” all he did was fuck a production assistant backstage
— bp ✾꒡ .̮ ꒡✾ (@valenzuelabp) March 16, 2017
‘The Weinstein Effect’ strikes close to home
The current wave of sexual harassment allegations against local musicians and artists occurred amidst the ongoing sexual harassment allegations in the US showbiz industry which began when American film producer and former film executive Harvey Weinstein’s abuse stories past surfaced. This then led to the online campaign #MeToo (created by Tarana Burke in 2007), where women and men all over the world have begun to share their tragic stories of rape and sexual harassment.
What transpired recently in the Twitterverse is an effect of this phenomena. (READ: ‘Weinstein Effect’ goes global as powerful men confronted [From Philstar.ph]).