The Hush Post: Here is a head of state, kissing a woman on her lips. President of Philippines Rodrigo Duterte kissed a Filipino woman on her lips. The incident happened when he was on an official visit to South Korea.
And it immediately sparked anger and controversy on Monday, as people across the world called it a “perverted way” of taunting his female critics.
Filipinos thought it was a harmless kiss which should be treated as a joke and no more.
Duterte (73) whose has been labelled as a misogynist and people have often said that his comments are derogatory and demeaning particularly towards women, dismissed the lip-to-lip a “gimmick” to entertain supporters at Seoul.
However, social media was filled with photos and videos of President Duterte on stage before a crowd of Filipinos on Sunday, when he asked an unidentified woman, a Filipino to kiss him. In return, she would get a book.
The woman, who is married and was excited to see Duterte in person, agreed to let him.
President Duterte then told the cheering crowd of about 3,000: “Don’t take it seriously. It’s just for fun, a gimmick.”
Philippine News Agency identified the woman whose name is Bea Kim and posted an interview of her on its Facebook page.
“There wasn’t malice in it,” she said. “For me, for him, it didn’t mean anything.”
Duterte’s controversial remarks about women include jokes and satire about rape and have incensed activists and foreigners, most notably, Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former US President Bill Clinton. But none have dented the hugely popular leader’s domestic support.
More recently, women’s rights advocates in Philippine launched an online scathing attack #BabaeAko (I Am A Woman) campaign to send a message that they were not taking Duterte’s “sexist” statements.
“You don’t have to kiss that woman if you want to entertain people,” said Joms Salvador, secretary-general of Gabriela Women’s Party.
“The fact that you thought that kissing the woman would entertain people…that’s something really sick.”
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said even though the kiss was a mutual doing, it was a “grave abuse of authority”.
Anna Pinili, a devout Catholic, said Duterte had good intentions but could have done it differently.
“Maybe, he should have kissed her on the cheeks instead,” she said.