NAGPALIWANAG sina Billy Crawford at Coleen Garcia ukol sa pre-wedding photos nila na kinunan sa Ethiopia, na tinuligsa ng ilang netizens at sinabing racist ang mga ito.
Ilan kasi sa mga picture nina Crawford at Garcia ay kasama ang ilang Ethiopian children, at mayroon ding isang ina na kasama ang kanyang anak.
May mga umalma ukol sa kuhang ito at sinabing ‘offensive’ dahil sa paggamit a mga local bilang ‘props.’
Sa isang joint statement, sinabi kapwa nina Crawford at Garcia na ang mga picture ay “taken out of context” at hindi nila intensiyon na makasakit.
Idinagdag pa nilang ang mga ginawang photo shoot ay hindi nila final at official prenuptial photos dahil mayroon silang ibang photo shoot na gagawin sa Pilipinas.
Ukol naman sa batang kasama sa picture, ang mga iyon mismo ang gustong sumama at maki-pictorial sa kanila kaya naman isinama na sila ng photographer.
Iginiit pa nilang, wala silang pinilit o binalewalang lahi o kultura.
Humingi rin ng paumanhin ang dalawa sa mga nasaktan nila dahil sa mga picture at aminado silang mayroon din silang pagkukulang.
Narito ang kabuuan ng kanilang paliwanag.
“It’s unfortunate how it was taken out of context. It’s far from what we intended. We were invited and sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines to do our shoot there for their tourism and capture their natural environment because we were told that tourism helps their economy. That’s why we were in Ethiopia.
“We had a local guide present throughout the entire duration of the shoot and leisure time in Ethiopia. He took us around and made suggestions for the shoot, such as including the priests of Lalibela in our photos because they want people to see. We based our layouts off of some of their suggestions.
“The locals were so kind, warm and welcoming, and they love meeting tourists.
“Yung shot with the kids, actually patapos na kaming mag-shoot noon na kaming dalawa lang and we just needed to get a few shots in, but naaliw ‘yung kids (who were already there) and they really wanted to be part of the photo so they kept coming into the frame hanggang sa sinama na.
“We never forced anyone nor wanted to disrespect any race or culture. People in the Philippines felt disrespected and offended, but being there was a completely different feeling.
“Every time we look at the photos, we remember how we got to interact with the locals while we were there, and it’s something truly memorable for all of us, including the team.
“Being public figures, dito kami nagkulang and we admit we could have done better. Kaya, we do apologize for how it might have translated, and we’re sorry again to those we have offended.”
“I grew up in a very diverse city (Roosevelt Island), and had experienced bullying and racism in my youth because of my being ‘an Asian.’ Trust me, we meant no harm.”
Samantala, inalis na ng team ang mga controversial picture.