Humor is a big part of It’s Showtime! But on Tuesday, a Ms. Q & A contestant suddenly found herself in hot water after getting called out for her poor choice of words. While she meant no harm, her offensive language did open a conversation about the terms that we should already stop using. Here’s what happened.
Miss Q and A: Kween of the Multibeks
Long-time viewers of the noontime variety show It’s Showtime! were delighted at the return of “Miss Q and A”, a competition for gay men and transgender women. The pageant has three rounds: “Tumpak Ganern,” “Di Ba, Te?” and “Bekla-mation,” where contestants can show off their talent and wit. At the end of the segment, a daily winner is declared and must defend their crown.
Miss Q&A Dimple
Like most pageants, Miss Q and A also require contestants to introduce themselves. Most candidates do it in a witty fashion, dropping quotable lines that’ll crack you up. During the turn of Miss Q&A contestant Dimple Solomon Ruiz, however, It’s Showtime! hosts Jhong Hilario, Vhong Navarro, and Vice Ganda were caught off guard after hearing her intro.
Dimple started with gibberish sounds, imitating the way people who have cleft palate or physical impairments speak before proceeding with the lines, “O ano, nagulat kayo ‘no? Akala niyo ngongo ako, ‘no? Mongoloid kaya ako.”
The hosts were not impressed, and neither was the studio audience, who responded to the joke with a deafening silence.
Vice Ganda calls it out
The comedian quickly called out Dimple’s distasteful remarks and said that her routine was different from what she had rehearsed.
“In behalf of candidate number 3, ngayon pa lamang ay humihingi na po kami ng paumanhin sa maaaring mga na-offend o hindi nagustuhan ang mga sinabi niya sa simula, lalo na ang paggamit ng mga salitang ‘ngongo’ at ‘mongoloid.’ Hindi na natin yun ginagamit,” Vice Ganda said.
“Kasi may mga salitang hindi na angkop at hindi katanggap-tanggap. Yung mga sinasabing hindi na politically correct yung terms at saka may mga bagay na hindi puwedeng sabihin sa telebisyon,” Vice added.
Dimple addresses the issue
Dimple apologized for what happened, admitting she only added those words to make viewers laugh and had no intention of offending anyone.
“I’m sorry po, idinagdag ko lang. I’m really sorry po. I didn’t mean it,” the contestant says. She also shared a picture of her and Vice Ganda on Facebook, thanking the comedian for personally going to her dressing room to comfort her.
While some netizens thought that the Vice Ganda was “OA” for calling Dimple out, most applauded the comedian’s actions. They praised Vice’s initiative to educate Dimple about how the terms “ngongo” and “mongoloid” are offensive to those with physical and intellectual disabilities.
It was a wise move of @vicegandako to immediately call out the contestant who makes fun of people who have physical impairments and issue an apology. @itsShowtimeNa #ShowtimeAugust2Natin pic.twitter.com/sD7BP2i0De
— Banash Daily 💚🌷 (@BIENsays) August 2, 2022
One netizen shared their experience with bullying, saying that they’re still haunted by the name-calling to this day:
— soja boi (@kultonimac) August 2, 2022
Netizens also praised Vice for showing sensitivity as they corrected Dimple. It wasn’t about canceling someone but educating them.
The way that Vice Ganda corrected the candidate without shaming/condescending to them and that no one laughed at the mention of the derogatory words was beautiful https://t.co/ysr4tznjf3
— Ira (@iravinz) August 2, 2022
Be like Vice: Stop tolerating offensive language
It’s 2022. We should know by now that disabilities aren’t a joke, and people with disabilities aren’t objects of ridicule. So if we see someone still making fun of the disabled, we can follow Vice Ganda’s lead and patiently and lovingly correct them.
Some people still have no idea how to refer to a person with a disability. According to REACH Inc, a service provider for people with disabilities, rather than using terms such as disabled person, handicapped people, a crippled person, we can use terms such as people/persons with disabilities, a person with a disability, or a person with a visual impairment.
Of course, we can’t expect change to happen overnight, but doing some research and staying open can go a long way.