Not worth it

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Tony Labrusca.

Tony Labrusca’s alleged meltdown at the airport is a perfect example of living under public scrutiny.

Everybody knows that once an individual decides to be a public servant or a celebrity, he has to say goodbye to things that he holds private

The incident at the Bureau of Immigration allegedly involving the Glorious actor is a case of “he said, she said.” The 23-year-old actor, who goes by the Twitter handle @tonythesharky, tweeted about the incident on 3 January. “Just landed in Manila and the Philippine Immigration only gave me 30 days here. LOL.” It has since been deleted.

Airport officials have said their piece, with one saying they practiced “maximum tolerance” with the actor who allegedly was displeased with being denied a Balikbayan visa.

Their full statement, released on 4 January, goes: “The celebrity, who the agency refused to name, is an American passport holder who reportedly shouted expletives when he was only given a 30-day stay. He was allegedly furious at immigration for giving him a hard time, despite him being a celebrity, with people wanting to take pictures with him.”

On 4 January, Labrusca posted a lengthy tweet that started with an apology addressed to an unnamed Immigration officer. Parts of it read: “I admit I was a bit frustrated and that I asked why I was only given 30 days to stay in the country this time. I was unaware of the policy that because I was not with my mother, I did not qualify for a Balikbayan stamp. It was very upsetting for me. And I’m sorry that I somehow took my frustrations out on the officer. But never did I ever call anyone stupid, nor an idiot, much less brag about being a celebrity. I know for a fact that the officer is merely doing her job. My biggest mistake perhaps was letting my emotions get the better of me and again I’m sorry.”

He ended that he had a long flight from Canada and that while it was not a perfect excuse, he would like to start the year fresh and offered another apology.

Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr. tweeted his reaction to a related post that tagged him. His tweet was short and succinct: “Just deport him.”

Labrusca is the son of actor Broom Labrusca and former Kulay member and singer Angel Jones. The actor could have avoided the incident if he had been with one of his parents, but he flew in without either of them. Under the law, he could have availed of the Balikbayan privilege if he had flown in with a Filipino or former Filipino citizen and gotten a one-year visa-free stay in the country.

Netizens and users have gone on to social media wondering what’s going to happen to their beloved Marvel superheroes and anti-heroes and if they are ever going to be able to binge-watch (for the nth time!) the crazy antics of Monica, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and Joey.

Tony’s career is expected to get a further boost after starring in the popular video-on-demand movie Glorious late last year with Angel Aquino. He got his biggest break when he was cast as the third wheel in the Kathryn Bernardo-Daniel Padilla TV hit La Luna Sangre (2017).

He had been living a relatively quiet life in Canada until he decided to audition in the reality show Pinoy Boyband Superstar in 2016. Once he decided he wanted to be a superstar, it was tantamount to letting the public into his life.

Everybody knows that once an individual decides to be a public servant or a celebrity, he has to say goodbye to things that he holds private. It comes with the price of fame and fortune, which are synonymous to the kind of lifestyle they are afforded. Well, at least true for the former in the Philippines.

They can either see it as both a boon or a bane. On one hand, they are adulated and indulged. On the other, they have to be conscious of every word and action they say and do. One wrong move or word, it could cost them their stature.

In Tony’s case, similar to past cases of celebrities “gone bad,” keyboard warriors, of which the Philippines unfortunately does not lack, immediately jumped in and fanned the flame; his fans unsurprisingly were quick to his defense.

A netizen commented on Tony’s Instagram (@tony.labrusca) account and shared he saw the whole incident. He alleged his version of the story but one part of his narration was unnecessary and unfounded. He wrote that the actor was with his boyfriend who was trying to pacify him. It was an obvious ploy to get more people talking about Tony, but this time questioning and gossiping about his gender preference. Again, I mean to digress because this is one topic that needs to be addressed: what does gender preference have to do with one’s behavior?

Whichever “truth” people choose to side with in this Tony Labrusca incident, it is he who will be affected the most.

Will the public be more forgiving or will his star ingloriously plummet as quickly as it rose?

The more, the merrier?
Now that Disney and WarnerMedia are launching their own streaming platforms later this year or in 2020, is it really a happy new year for viewers and couch potatoes alike?

Netflix does not necessarily “monopolize” the video-on-demand/streaming (VoD) market.

There are other streaming platforms such as Hulu and AmazonPrime. But Disney and Warner entering into direct competition with Netflix, arguably one of the biggest VoD providers, is a gamechanger primarily because they are content producers who have been licensing for streaming their biggest titles to VoD sites.

Disney owns many Marvel titles and the Star Wars franchise. WarnerMedia’s assets include HBO and DC Comics. Its subsidiary Warner Entertainment and its TV production arm, Warner Brothers TV, owns the all-time favorite and TV Guide’s 60 Best TV Series of All Time, Friends. These titles are currently streaming on Netflix.

Netizens and users have gone on to social media wondering what’s going to happen to their beloved Marvel superheroes and anti-heroes and if they are ever going to be able to binge-watch (for the nth time!) the crazy antics of Monica, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and Joey. All 10 seasons of it before WarnerMedia’s platform is going to be launched.

It is expected that this development — content producers launching their own streaming platforms — is the new frontier for TV and streaming. And this is not only happening in the US.

In the Philippines, ABS-CBN, ever the astute and pioneering media giant, has already relaunched and boosted its own streaming platform iWantTv. They are now producing exclusive content for streaming in iWantTV including digital flicks like Glorious and series starring their own talents. Similarly, Cignal Play, one of the many entities of TV5’s parent company MediaQuest Holdings, has its licensed library as well as content from affiliated entertainment channels.

Regional VoD sites HOOQ and iFlix are doing what Netflix has been doing in anticipation of such shift. Apart from licensing titles from ABS-CBN, GMA-7, Viva Entertainment and TV5, they have also started producing original content.

While this shift may seem a welcome development, one can’t help but reassess the practicality of it. Hardcore fans would have to split their bills between two streaming sites just to get their fix. And at P300++ to P500++ per Netflix subscription, basic arithmetic would lead them to think about shelling twice the amount they usually set aside assuming that Disney’s and WarnerMedia’s sites will be made available in the country at the relatively same rate as existing streaming services. With the popularity of their titles, they may be made available in the country in one way or another through bundle packages or partnerships with telcos.

It’s a wait-and-see situation, but I would bet that there’s no price too steep for a TV and streaming junkie. Or they would just have to find some ingenious way to still get their fix.

What are your thoughts?

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