IT’S not easy being an Azkal. To acknowledge the fans, he has to mingle with hundreds of strangers, pose for photographs, and sign autographs over and over again. It can get taxing, but such is the price of fame.
But sometimes it’s not easy being a fan either. Just ask those who joined a meet-and-greet activity at a mall last Sunday, when an overzealous security detail allegedly treated them--I don’t know how else to put it--like stray dogs.
That Sunday afternoon I didn’t notice anything unusual as I scanned the long queue of giddy, screaming fans across The Terraces at the Ayala Center Cebu. It was what one might expect when more than a dozen celebrities come face-to-face with a throng of adolescent devotees on the edge of hysteria.
On the other hand, I didn’t expect to see such a huge crowd of fawning Cebuano fans, who, legend has it, are generally hard-to-please. And based on what I saw, I had the impression that the meet-and-greet activity was a complete success.
I had no clue, however, of what discontent was raging among young fans who felt they were mistreated that afternoon. The following day, they poured their sentiments on Facebook.
I only learned about the ugly side of the event when an FB contact, Doreen Galindo McHold, commented last Monday on a photo I had just uploaded: “The whole experience would have been fun if only that one lady (part of the event staff) was not rude. Wala pa gani mi ka pwesto para mag pa picture, she said, ‘Over ra kay ka day, hawa na,’ and she grabbed my arm and led me to the exit.”
Doreen said many other girls “had the same complaint as well” and directed me to a link showing a steady deluge of complaints. The fans posted elsewhere because their comments were being deleted and blocked from the mall’s official FB page.
“I was really shocked when I got blocked. I mean, I was just saying what really happened,” said Chrislyn Marwin Fernández on her post. “If they don’t want negative impressions from the people, they should’ve been nicer to us. They have no respect at all.”
This post from Destiny Nicole Ann Salas sums it all up: “I’m not from Cebu. My friend and I travelled six hours just to see them and actually have a real picture with them, (not) get pushed away by the female security guard. We didn’t even have a picture!”
“You guys didn’t have to push us away! We would’ve left if you guys treated us right… Neil and Simon were still signing my keychain when the guard pulled me away. I had to tell her that they were still signing my stuff. Respect the fans, just like we
respected the management,” Destiny said.
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