Sofitel Manila’s Discrimination of UNTV Story Goes Viral, #NoToSofitel Trends Worldwide
Sofitel Manila has dominated Twitterlandia under Philippines and Worldwide Trending marquee for one week, albeit on a sour note. Thanks to an online protest against the hotel’s discrimination of a Filipino television station known for its massive charities for the marginalized sector and public service projects.
In a statement it posted on Facebook and Twitter, Sofitel Manila did admit it removed UNTV and would only reinstate once demanded by its guests.
The unsigned statement that Sofitel issued after heeding to public clamor for the hotel to issue an explanation for delisting UNTV attracted even more deluge of protests.
Netizens called the hotel’s excuse as lame and insulting to sensible Filipinos. Others complained that there was no acceptance of wrongdoings from Sofitel’s part, however.
Now the public demanded Sofitel Manila to issue a signed statement, showing who are responsible for the wrongdoings at the hotel, and to apologize for its infractions.
The online boycott vs. the management of Sofitel Manila was sparked by the call of UNTV CEO Daniel Razon to boycott Sofitel for being discriminatory. He called on his viewers to campaign for the boycott last July 14 during Razon‘s morning magazine show,Good Morning Kuya.
Following the call, #NoToSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH scooped trending places on Twitter until its seventh day on July 20, where its hashtags turned into #NoToSofitelDay7 and #BoycottSofitelPHDay7.
During the sixth day (July 19) of the protest, the boycott hashtags reached top 3 and 4 of Worldwide Trends as of 9:17 PM (PHT). Then by 9:23PM, #NoToSofitelDay7 reached the No. 1 Worldwide Trending Ladder.
Observers noted, the call for sustained boycott of Sofitel could last for weeks to months until Sofitel issues a public apology.
Other controversies that netizens pointed out about Sofitel Manila include its discrimination of Filipino over the hotel’s foreigner guests. Also, there was a pending case lodged against Sofitel Manila for denying senior citizen discounts to one of its lawyer guests.
Razon or Kuya Daniel as he is fondly called by viewers of his programs on UNTV stressed that Sofitel Manila has ignored the “must carry rule” of the National Telecommunications Commission.
Under Memorandum Circular No. 4-08-88 or the Revised Rules and Regulations Governing Cable Television Systems in the Philippines, it is mandatory to carry for cable systems to carry TV signals of stations. Sofitel Manila subscribes to a cable TV system that carries UNTV.
Critics were proven wrong by thinking the boycott was small and short-lived.
UNTV has a strong followership across the globe, particularly from Overseas Filipino Workers in Asia-Pacific, Oceania, Middle East, Europe, North America and Canada.
Natives of Latin American countries like Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Haiti have also prominently expressed their support to the boycott.
The Sofitel Manila discrimination story will remind many of the “old Titanic story” and its lessons about bad decisions and a random iceberg that just happened to be in the way.
(Words Originally Posted in CNN iReport)