On Tony Labrusca, A Pitchfork Mob, and Malicious Activitism
QUIET COMPANY - Carina Santos (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2019 - 12:00am

The easy access to information seems to have made people think that they are owed whatever they want to know beyond what we share.

The scrutiny of celebrities is made easier because of pointed media coverage and the ease and accessibility of social media. It seems that everyone has something to say about everything. Recently, actor Tony Labrusca came under fire for an alleged altercation with a Philippine immigration officer. An American citizen, Labrusca was granted a stay of only 30 days in the country, due to the absence of his Filipino parents — a condition for longer-term entry of which they were unaware. Although many have criticized Labrusca’s outburst, there are others who took the opportunity to make off-center remarks about him and his personal life, particularly regarding his supposed sexual inclinations.

This incident threw the actor into the spotlight, where many have made assertions that he is gay and involved with other men, going as far as posting salacious photographs as proof of their claims. Disguising their attacks as an action for the common good, rallying under the banner of LGBTQ concerns, some have reasoned that, if there was nothing wrong with homosexuality, celebrities like Labrusca, who have considerable influence, must and should be outed. Their insistence on being closeted meant that they are hiding something about themselves — in this case, being gay — that they are ashamed of. Apparently, this means that they believe that being gay is wrong.

Given the breadth of LGBTQ issues, coming out may be at the bottom of everyone’s list of pressing concerns. However, this mass mob pitchforking where some people may be pressured to come out before they are ready proves that it is something that still requires thoughtfulness, consideration, and empathy. For some people, coming out is unsafe — whether physically, financially, emotionally, or in some other way. For others, it might not be the best time to process it just yet. Sometimes, it is simply something that seems unnecessary to even bring up.

Forcing someone out of the closet robs them of the opportunity to do so on their own terms. Whether one chooses to disclose any part of their identity is up to them entirely, because no one is entitled to know any part of someone’s identity that they don’t feel the need or desire to disclose, especially if it doesn’t harm anyone else. The easy access to information seems to have made people think that they are owed whatever they want to know, particularly with celebrities, which has rendered previously out-of-reach figures relatable and accessible to their public, painting the illusion of a closeness that wasn’t previously there.

There are many reasons why people choose to come out, and all of them are valid. People do not need to come out for the benefit of others, if they don’t want to, and certainly, they should not be forced out if they are not ready to reckon with the public that so readily scrutinizes things with which they do not agree. Ultimately, coming out needs to happen — or not happen — on someone’s own terms. The feelings and wellbeing that ought to be considered in this case are that of the person in question, and not that of strangers who feel entitled to information they do not have the right to demand.

TONY LABRUSCA
Philstar
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