Here’s how fast things can change in the age of social media: One minute you’re an OPM favorite (as evidenced by everyone’s Spotify Wrapped) and the next you’re being canceled for a random comment people saw in passing. The same folks who hailed you for writing heartfelt songs are the first to say you’re overrated. We are, of course, talking about singer/songwriter/producer Zack Tabudlo who is currently in the midst of an online controversy. Sip the piping hot tea if you haven’t yet:
The comment that sparked a flame
It all started with an events organizer who shared a screenshot of Zack’s Spotify page with a caption: “Isa kang malaking ekis sakin, bata ka.” After her followers got curious, the organizer explained the context. The story immediately shaped how thousands of Pinoys saw Zack.
“This kid was supposed to play on stage at 10:15 PM a couple of weeks ago. His band was already on stage, and everybody was ready, except sa kanya na ayaw pa umakyat dahil 10 PM pa lang daw,” read the now-deleted Facebook comment.
The organizer said the situation was getting increasingly awkward so the head of events — described as “an absolute sweetheart” — decided to call Zack herself. The 21-year-old musician allegedly refused to go on stage, shouted that his set didn’t start until 10:15 PM, and proceeded to slam the door.
“Even his manager apologized on his behalf because he was rude and obnoxious,” said the post.
According to the post, the crowd wasn’t feeling Zack’s set either. When he allegedly did his pre-song spiel to ask the crowd who has problems with their love lives, they allegedly shouted “Ikaw, dahil ang baho ng ugali mo!” This reportedly led to the artist walking off the stage.
The post also recounted how even the host (unnamed but “kilalang kilala”) seemed to be irked with Zack and dropped sarcastic remarks about the artist.
Memes instantly crop up
Naturally, a story like that was too juicy for the Maritesses to resist. It instantly went viral online with people sharing their scathing comments on the issue (plus a side of below-the-belt attacks on the artist).
“Zack Tabudlo, pangit daw yung ugali mo. Kasing pangit ng whole discography mo,” read one take on the matter in a post that even reached 20k likes on Facebook. Pinoys were dismayed with Zack showing his “true colors.”
“May artist na ko na tatanggalin sa playlist ko,” said one.
“Malalaman mo talagang magkakaissue ung artist kapag ung lyrics ng kanta may kasadboiyan eh,” commented another.
In true Pinoy fashion, memes soon cropped up online and a new inside joke was born: 10:15 PM. Many even joked that maybe Zack could consider “10:15” as the name of his next album.
Zack Tabudlo’s dad speaks up
But like with anything that happens online (or IRL), there are two sides to a story. Zack’s father, RJ Villar Tabudlo, spoke up on Facebook to clear his son’s name. According to him, it was a horrible miscommunication caused by a new addition to their team.
The elder Tabudlo explained that he and his son were in the holding area a few meters from the stage waiting for the new road manager’s signal. The event was held indoors, they couldn’t clearly hear what was happening so they didn’t know the band was already playing. According to them, it was actually Zack’s new road manager who got into an argument with the organizer about what time Zack was supposed to go on stage.
“Pinagsabihan ko siya (new road manager) na dapat sinabi man lang kay Zack (na start na). Kasi wala naman kaso if kahit anong oras. Kasi mas maaga siya sumampa sa stage the better kasi makakauwi kami agad. So hinde totoo na may lumapit na babae na sweet at nag sabi na need na sumampa sa stage ni Zack kasi yan ang trabaho ng road manager,” read the post.
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Tabudlo also explained that his son wouldn’t just slam a door in someone’s face. In fact, no one could come close to him without his bodyguards knowing. It’s also impossible for Zack to be booed on stage and to walk off since the event was online.
“The event is online. There are 50 people lang sa loob na nanunuod and naikikipaglokohan pa si Zack sakanila and nag-ask sino ang broken hearted. May tinuro sila na boss ata nila sabi pa ni Zack para sayo song na to and nag-tatawanan lahat and nag-enjoy. After kumanta ni Zack bumaba siya sa stage kasi wala naman instructions sa kanya to stay sa stage alangan tumayo sya dun na tapos na sya kumanta,” he explained.
Tabudlo’s father also told the artist manager to apologize to the organizer for the new road manager’s mistakes.
“Please stop the hate kasi minsan di natin alam ano talaga nang yayari. Napakabait na bata nyan ni Zack, specially sa mga lumalapit. You can even ask his bodyguards, pinapagalitan sila ni Zack pag pinipigil mga tao magpa-picture sa kanya. In short it was not Zack but the new road manager niya that time ang pumalpak that day,” the post concluded.
But wait, it doesn’t end there
The organizer who originally posted the comment reacted to Tabudlo’s post. In a now-deleted Facebook status, they insisted that there was nothing wrong with the coordination. Zack and his band have one dressing room so, according to her, naturally, the artist should know what’s up when he’s the only one left in the room.
“Lumaban kayo patas hindi yung damage control niyo dinaan niyo sa troll farms,” said the organizer.
“Plus, from the person who got slammed at mismo… we both know that you called her. Don’t deny it. Mas madali mag-sorry kaysa gumawa ng storya na hindi totoo,” they added.
They even said that what Zack did could be grounds for filing a breach of contract/damages against him and his team.
Pinoys talk about cancel culture in the PH
the way people immediately believed one unverified comment abt zack tabudlo shows how easy it is to spread misinformation on social media 😬😬
— billie revillame (@dalexass) December 11, 2022
Other Pinoys were dismayed with how many were quick to jump the hate train without carefully criticizing what they were reacting on.
“The way people immediately believed one unverified comment about Zack Tabudlo shows how easy it is to spread misinformation on social media,” read one comment on Twitter.
What’s that sage advice that’s as old as time? Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet? The last time we checked, that’s still true. So before you believe a stray comment, try to poke around and use your common sense to understand the situation. And whatever happened to “Receipts or it didn’t happen”?
“Yan na yung issue? Ni walang proof na recording or video to justify that statement? Eh kahit ako pwede ako magrelease ng issue pertaining to anyone,” said another.
Yan na yung issue? Ni walang proof na recording or video to justify that statement? Eh kahit ako pwede ako magrelease ng issue pertaining to anyone.
— FIFI 🐶 | stinky dawter ni zack (@fifinizack_) December 11, 2022
“Ang hirap kasi wala man lang video, audio recording or sumthng. ang bilis ng cancel culture sa pinas tbh. Di pa nga naririnig other side. But if this is true then it’s very saddening and disappointing,” tweeted another.
ang hirap kasi wala man lang video, audio recording or sumthng. ang bilis ng cancel culture sa pinas tbh. di pa nga naririnig other side. but if this is true then it’s very saddening and disappointing.
— soleil (@rzfrc) December 11, 2022
Zack, whom everyone saw last weekend at Head in the Clouds Manila, is yet to personally respond to the issue as of writing.
Update: UMG PH’s official statement
Zack’s label UMG PH has issued a statement, calling the allegations “false, damaging, and defamatory”. Echoing the elder Tabudlo’s comments, the statement affirmed that Zack had not been involved in the incident, which had already been resolved with the organizers. According to the post, the person who had posted the allegations was not even present during the incident and is not involved with the client.
“UMG PH will not tolerate this kind of behavior toward our artist and colleagues. We are now consulting this matter with our legal team and will take legal action for the damages this individual has inflicted.”
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What do you think of the Zack Tabudlo issue? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!