By Christian V. Esguerra

This episode looks into the social media trend “#BoycottShopee” spurred online from the endorsement of Marcos Supporter, Toni Gonzaga, and   De La Salle University professor Prof. Cheryll Soriano also joins Christian Esguerra to discuss the aftermath of cancel culture. Also know whether there is a need to change the tourism campaign of the Philippines with Matec Villanueva, an advertising and marketing expert.

The firestorm over Shopee’s hiring of Marcos supporter Toni Gonzaga as its endorser shone a spotlight on the e-commerce platform’s layoff of employees, a communications professor said.

“May mahalagang nai-surface ‘yung boycott issue. Nailabas niya ang question ng mass layoff or pagtatanggal ng mga trabahador. Maganda nga na nakapagsurface siya ng issues related to the labor-side of it,” said De La Salle University professor and researcher Cheryll Soriano, in an interview on Christian Esguerra’s “Facts First” podcast.

Soriano, principal investigator of De La Salle report on cancel culture and social media bullying, said the mass boycotting of Shopee was similar to how cancel culture works when “ordinary people [are] coming together to try to hold those in […] authority accountable.”

She cautioned that cancel culture campaigns could also be based around “gossip” and quickly turn into an outraged mob. 

Netizens shouldn’t be too hasty in condemning Shopee’s decisions as these should be understood as “a bigger corporate management issue,” said Soriano. 

The boycott campaign raised questions over whether the mass layoff was connected to Gonzaga’s endorsement deal.

“Para kasing ang nagiging argument ay ‘may kaya kayong magbayad ng mamahaling endorser, tapos maglalayoff kayo.’ Kailangan natin siyang tignan as a bigger corporate management issue,” she said.

Interviewed by Rappler, Shopee employees denied allegations that jobs were cut because Shopee had to pay Gonzaga’s talent fee. However, they were disappointed with the company’s move.

“Some of my friends are deleting the Shopee app. I think I want to join too,” one of the laid-off employees said.

A representative of Shopee told the Inquirer that the layoffs in the country would reduce the workforce by “a low single-digit percentage” and that operations in the Philippines won’t be affected. 

The company has been reported to have laid off 30-60% of workers in China and 3% in Indonesia and shut down operations in India.

Shopee said these changes were part of efforts to rationalize its business after it incurred a loss of $931.2 million in the second quarter of 2022. Jessie Rival and John Timothy Manalaysay


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