Scapegoating? Pinoys question Xander Ford’s claim of bisexuality after rape allegation

Xander Ford at left, introducing his boyfriend Jerick Fernandez <i>Screengrab from Ford’s YouTube Video</i>
Xander Ford at left, introducing his boyfriend Jerick Fernandez Screengrab from Ford’s YouTube Video

Is he pulling a Kevin Spacey?

Filipinos are questioning whether social media personality Xander Ford’s recent revelation that he has a boyfriend and is in fact bisexual, is a supposed tasteless attempt to veer away from his former girlfriend’s very public allegations of rape and physical abuse.

On Monday, Ford (AKA Marlou Arizala) uploaded a vlog where he’s seen sitting next to a man wearing a mask whom he introduces as his boyfriend.

“I’m with my loved one. I don’t want you to see his face yet because I’m a little embarrassed. I’m a private [figure]…but that’s him,” Ford said in English and Filipino, pointing to his boyfriend Jerick Fernandez, or as Ford puts it, “my baby boy Jerick.”

Over the course of the 15-minute video, Ford brings out two of his friends to host a question-and-answer type program where he discusses how his relationship with his current flame started.

“We just became comfortable around each other…[H]e said he understood me better than other people, out of all the other people who don’t understand. So I believed him. Now when we exactly became a couple, it just suddenly happened. We just felt it,” Ford explained.

“I really wasn’t attracted to men. But lately, I just realized I had all these feelings that I developed for a guy,” he added in Filipino.

Towards the end of the video, Fernandez takes off the mask to reveal his face. And a day following the creative reveal, Ford posted a picture of themselves on his Instagram account.

The brazen declaration of love would have been moving, if critics of the internet sensation and wanna-be actor didn’t find it fishy.

 

Over at the comments section, someone using the name @emarydraws strongly opposed Ford’s coming out and wrote, “You know [X]ander, don’t use being part of the LGBTQ as a scapegoat, as part of the community, I despise you.”

“How convenient that you came out bisexual at a time that you’re on [a public] trial as a rapist. You’re a scourge to society. You do not belong to the community, you’re just using the community to cover yourself [up] as a rapist,” she said.

While on Twitter, @von_vrts wasn’t as keen about the news and wrote, “So apparently Xander Ford came out as ‘bisexual’? Excuse me but what the fuck?!”

“Yes, it’s cringey, but you know what’s problematic? Do you know how hard it is to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, especially in a conservative country like the Philippines?” he added, apparently alluding that Ford’s predicament isn’t helping the queer movement’s cause.

Back in mid-June, Ford’s former girlfriend Ysah Cabrejas accused him of rape and physical abuse in a series of now-deleted posts on Facebook.

Cabrejas posted screenshots of their conversations and posted photos of bruises she allegedly got from Ford after he allegedly forced her several times to have intercourse, even when she had her monthly period.

“Before I gave up I endured it all. You forced it on me. Even if I had [my period], even when I did not want it. When I refused you, you would get angry, that’s why I had all these bruises because you forced me!,” Cabrejas wrote in Filipino.

“Why didn’t you take pity on me? I cried in front of you, I pleaded, I told you to stop but you didn’t listen, you said as long as I get you pregnant, even if you leave me I’m okay with [that]. Are you stupid? What kind of boyfriend are you?” the 21-year-old wrote.

“It happened many times! The first time [it happened] just because I didn’t want to shower with you, you were so angry. You made it clear to my face that it was only my body you were after. Then you kept flipping [my story] to everyone for what? So you can clean your image? You keep playing the victim, but it’s me who’s the real victim! You trampled on my dignity!” she added.

Cabrejas also sought the help of broadcaster Raffy Tulfo — who has become famous for settling spats on-air — to file appropriate charges against Ford, who claimed that he’d already settled the issue with Cabrejas. Tulfo rejected this and said Cabrejas has not forgiven the actor.

Meanwhile, Ford’s talent agency, Star Image Artist Management, yesterday released a statement announcing that the controversial figure has been suspended indefinitely.

“On July 17, 2020, Marlou Arizala a.k.a. Xander Ford publicly announced that he’s a bisexual. Star Image Artist Management respects his decision to expose his real sexuality, and as a person, he is entitled to be free,” the statement read.

“But we accept the fact that he is still under judicial trial with the case filed against him by his ex-girlfriend. The management has decided to place Marlou Arizala under ‘INDEFINITE SUSPENSION’ until he will be cleared without any criminal liability,” they said.

“Furthermore, the personal views, opinions, and statements expressed by any of our artists do not in any way represent the views and opinions of the company and the management,” the company added.

Ford, who rose to fame in 2015 after a video of him lip-synching to the song “Papogi” (“To be handsome”) went viral on the internet, was a former member of the boyband Hasht5.

 

Read more Coconuts Manila articles here.

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