After more than 24 hours that the hashtags #NoToSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH enjoyed Twitter primetime slots under Philippine Trends, Sofitel Manila finally issued a statement around 3PM (Philippine time) amidst public clamor for the posh hotel to explain itself for delisting local Philippine Public Service Channel UNTV in its hotel channel listing.
But netizens quickly pointed out the illogical and airy arrogance of the official statement that the Manila office of Sofitel Plaza Hotel posted on Twitter.
Update: UNTV seems bent on pursuing its campaign for the rest of the week as it issued, #NoToSofitelDay3 and #BoycottSofitelPHDay3 as of 10:30PM Tuesday (7/15/2014). At 11:42PM, the hashtag #NoToSofitelDay3 debuted at No. 5 of Philippine Trends.
Official Sofitel Manila Statement over Boycott Campaign
Greeting its Twitter followers with “Bonjour!”, the @SofitelManila account continued with: In line with the ongoing campaign to boycott Sofitel Manila, we would like to share with you all the official statement of the management.”
“We do not discriminate against any local or international broadcasting television channel. While we supply several television channels for our guests, the channels we air in the hotel are system-limited, and regularly changed based on several factors, including guest feedback and demand.”
“We are happy to hear the public’s concerns, and will consider to re-instate the UNTV Channel if this is a request from our hotel guests.”
To summarize Sofitel’s Statement, it impliedly revealed that it did removed UNTV based on guest requests and feedbacks.
“Illogical Excuse”, Netizens Demand Apology
As soon as Sofitel posted their statement, netizens bombarded them with tweets and comments. Some chastised the posh hotel for posting comment that was demeaningly insulting of Filipinos.
Bro. Eli Soriano of Ang Dating Daan radio-television program posted a series of tweets on his Twitter account @BroEliSoriano, expressing his sentiments over the controversial delisting of UNTV by Sofitel.
The International Evangelist pointed out that it is only Sofitel’s illogical excuse to think of hotel guests to be demanding the delisting of UNTV.
a hotel guest who can by a remote control change channels will not demand delisting of untv! shame on u for ur illogical excuse, di me bobo
— Brother Eli Soriano (@BroEliSoriano) July 15, 2014
In another @BroEliSoriano tweet, the preacher noted that Sofitel must be wrong in thinking that Filipinos are stupid, saying there are sensible Filipinos who think. Unless guests belong to a religion bearing “three colors”, no guests will demand to delete channels.
baka akala ng sofitel bobo mga pinoy, nagkakamali sila may sensible pilipinos! no guest will demand u to delete a channel unless 3 colors. — Brother Eli Soriano (@BroEliSoriano) July 15, 2014
Online boycotters flooded Twitter streams, decrying the suspicious removal of UNTV in its channel listing:
— Mik-Mik San Miguel (@mhikeSM) July 15, 2014
— jane abao (@kotawinters) July 14, 2014
— Rigor (@rigorcruz) July 15, 2014
— Roderick Masa (@roderickmasa) July 15, 2014
— Eldon B. Tenorio (@ebtenorio) July 15, 2014
Netizens believe an influential group, the staunchest detractor of Bro. Eli and Ang Dating Daan whose programs are widely carried by UNTV, was behind Sofitel’s move to delist UNTV.
The Iglesia ni Cristo group who will celebrate its 100 years has already trumpeted the arrival of its members from abroad and whom the online citizens gathered would be staying at Sofitel.
kaya bina ban ang untv kasi takot sila na ang magche check in sa sofitel makapakinig! mabubulgar aral nilang bulok! — Brother Eli Soriano (@BroEliSoriano) July 14, 2014
From Where #BoycottSofitelPH started
Early Monday morning (7/14/2014) during the morning magazine show Good Morning Kuya, UNTV-BMPI CEO and Chairman Daniel Razon called on his viewers to boycott the Manila branch of the French luxury hotel for removing UNTV in its lineup of channels it served hotel guests.
Immediately, hashtags boycotting the hotel started snowballing with users demanding Sofitel Manila to issue a statement.
Around 2PM (PHT), the #NoToSofitel jumped up the No. 1 spot of Philippines Trends of Twitter, accompanied by #BoycottSofitelPH.
Both hashtags sustained its power until the following day, July 15, as online citizens unceasingly tweet and retweet, asking and demanding Sofitel to explain its reasons and clarify reports about the alleged involvement of the Iglesia ni Cristo for singling out UNTV as the channel to remove.
UNTV Supporters from abroad joined the call to boycott the controversial removal by Sofitel Manila of UNTV. UNTV has presence virtually all over the world, with programming that reaches the whole of Asia, Europe, Africa, South and Central Americas, North America and Canada, and Australia through satellite and live video streaming.