ABS-CBN execs say Gretchen Fullido twisted text messages to cover up for flaws as a reporter
The two ABS-CBN producers accused by Gretchen Fullido of sexual harassment had told the management—as early as January—that she gave false evidence and twisted the facts in order to cover up her flaws as a showbiz reporter.
This was the gist of the counter-affidavits submitted by news segment prodcucer Maricar Asprec and her domestic partner, former TV Patrol supervising producer Cheryl Favila.
Asprec and Favila already explained their side in response to a Dec. 1, 2017, directive by Head of Integrated News Ma. Regina Reyes, according to documents obtained by Abogado.com.ph.
Fullido, in her complaint before the ABS-CBN management last year and the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office last week, claimed Asprec and Favila’s text messages and actions created a “hostile and offensive working environment” for her for three years.
Favila, however, said the text messages cited by Fullido were taken out of context.
She said they were only trying to “make her feel good about her physical appearance,” and Fullido “was the one leading the conversation into what could be perceived as ‘sexy.’”
She also argued Fullido never mentioned that she was offended with the producers’ treatment.
“The gross malice in Gretchen Fullido’s accusations is evident in the way she singled out messages without showing the full thread of the conversation, took them out of context, and made it appear that they were inappropriate or had sexual undertones,” Favila said.
These text messages include:
“You rejected me once. I will never forget that.”: Favila said she was talking about the numerous times she invited her for dinner.
“Gusto ng live rendition ng Happy Birthday song mo na naka-super sexy outfit ka. Hahaha! Birthday ko naman, di ba?”: Favila said it was just made in jest, and Fullido even replied that she could do it “a la Marilyn Monroe to JFK.”
“It’s more of a guy thing. Pwede, ‘pag lalapit ka, ‘wag masyadong malapit? Unless tayong dalawa lang…”: Favila said she texted this because Fullido had worn an outfit showing part of her cleavage, and stood too close to her at the office, to the point that people in the newsroom stared at them.
“I just wanted to say you were very sexy when you went up to the newsroom. I’ve to say this, you look lovely tonight.”: Favila said she merely complimented Fullido’s appearance since producers have to ensure the anchors look good.
“Bawal ang jowa ha… lagot ka sa akin.”: Favila insisted this was just a joke, in the text of Fullido being cautioned against tagging her then-boyfriend Simon Greatwich along in her news coverage.
“I am waiting for the ‘commitment’ answer. I don’t think I can be with you in the same room without a clear idea on how to proceed with everything.”: Favila said this message did not refer to a romantic relationship, but actually concerned Fullido’s “sexy, compromising poses” on social media that could affect the wholesome image the producer wanted her to project for her segment “Tara Grets.”
“Tara Grets was my shower moment this morning”: Favila clarified that “shower moment” referred to ideas hatched in the shower.
Fullido also accused Favila of making unwanted sexual advances when they went to Bank Bar in Manila on March 9, 2017.
Favila said she bit her lips as a habit and may have looked down during the conversation. But, she insisted that she “definitely did not look at Gretchen Fullido’s breast.”
She also denied ever saying “I like you” to Fullido in “a different way compared to the other girls.”
She also insisted that her move on May 19, 2016, to temporarily stop “Tara Grets” was not connected to any sexual proposition.
Favila said Fullido’s claim that she asserted her power to control her work was a “blatant lie” and a “desperate attempt to cover up for what she sorely lacks as a reporter and segment anchor.”
She showed text messages from as early as October 2015 gently scolding Fullido for poor performance and reminding her of the need to catch up to her fellow entertainment reporters.
Favila said Fullido would even be asked to get more interviews and source more videos because all the shots had her face on them. Her stories would also be rewritten for lack of focus.
She denied causing Fullido’s stories not to be aired on “TV Patrol,” and pointed out that producers would still have to find the correct timing for reporters’ stories to be broadcast, given limited airtime.
“When Gretchen Fullido failed to live up to the expectations of her doing her share to be an Entertainment and Lifestyle icon, she twisted our relationship as friend-superior-subordinate into bullying and harassment. She blames us to cover up for her shortcomings,” Favila concluded.
In her separate answer to Fullido’s complaint, Asprec denied asking her to be Favila’s “Thursday girl.” Asprec also said “Thursday girls” only referred to drinking buddies, and denied that it had sexual connotations.
Asprec also denied pressuring Fullido to give in to Favila’s purported sexual advances, saying: “Why would I do that to her with my own partner?”
She also expressed surprise that Fullido accused them of being the source of her stress, depression and anxiety attacks for three years.
Asprec said she thought Fullido treated her as a friend and felt free to tell her about her weaknesses to help her improve.
“Ang realization ko po ay ginamit lang kami ni Gretchen lalo na si Chair [Favila] para magkaroon siya ng added value bilang reporter at Entertainment Anchor,” Asprec said.
“Pero noong napagod na kami sa kaniya, sa kaniyang mga palusot, kasinungalingan, katamaran sa trabaho, at noong marami nang nakakaalam sa kahinaan niya, natakot na siya. Nag-imbento na siya ng mga istorya and she twisted our text messages,” she bemoaned.