Ethel Booba explains why she disowned Twitter account, clears political ties
Comedienne Ethel Booba finally explained in a video yesterday, April 14, why she called her Twitter account “fake” after years of growing a following with witty, and at times, hard-hitting posts.
Ethel stated that the account @IamEthylGabison was “fake,” as posted on her Instagram account on April 8, which confused her 1.6 million followers.
The disowning of the account came as a surprise as Ethel herself has said in multiple TV interviews that the account was hers.
She stated back in October 2016 that she was behind the tweets while she promoted her book “#Charotism: The Wit and Wisdom of Ethel Booba” on “Tonight with Boy Abunda”. She also explained in another interview in November that she had a “social media consultant” helping her handle the account and editing tweets before they are posted.
After calling her Twitter account “fake” last week, the comedienne went on her YouTube channel yesterday to clarify how her account had been run over the past years.
She said that she had no direct contact with the administrator and that she only spoke to the person through other people.
“‘Di ko nga alam ‘yong pagmumukha niya (I don’t even know how the person looks),” she said in the video, noting too that it could be more than one person behind the account.
Ethel admitted that she used to feed jokes to be tweeted, but claimed that the account handler was no longer following what she wanted to post. She said she reported the account after it took a more political tone — particularly one that was anti-administration.
Ethel clarified she used to have a Twitter account with the handle @iamrealgabisonethyl but that she removed it because she did not like what she saw on Twitter.
“Hindi maganda ang Twitter world para sa ‘kin. Parang nakakabad vibes siya. So tinanggal ko ‘yon,” she said. (The Twitter world was not nice for me. It brings bad vibes. So I removed it.)
She said that she knew of an account impersonating her at around 2012 or 2013, when the account messaged her around the time she took down her original account.
“May nag-DM kasi sa akin, sabi niya sa ‘kin, ‘Hi Ms. Ethel, fan mo ‘ko,’ pero ang pangalan Ethel Booba,” she recalled. (Someone messaged me and said “Hi Ms. Ethel, I’m your fan”, but the name was Ethel Booba.)
“Sabi ko ‘Ano ‘to?’ Parang may nagch-chat na ginagaya ako. 2012, 2013 or something. Hinayaan ko na, hanggang hindi ko nabuksan ang Twitter na ‘yon, ‘yung @iamrealgabisonethyl.”
(I said, “What is this?” I was chatting with someone who was copying me. 2012, 2013 or something. I let it be, until I did not open that Twitter, the @iamrealgabisonethyl”.)
2016: ‘Feeding’ tweets
The account followed her friends and siblings on Twitter at around 2016 and messaged them. Ethel checked the account herself and noticed that it was using pictures from her Facebook page and captured how she talked.
“Tinignan ko. Tapos ‘pag tingin ko, ay kinokopya lang niya ‘yong mga pinopost ko sa Facebook. Nilalagay niya sa Twitter. Kuhang-kuha niya ako talaga. The way na pagsasalita ko,” she said.
(I checked it. When I did, it was copying my posts on Facebook and putting it on Twitter. It captured me, the way I spoke.)
“Natuwa naman ako kasi maganda naman. Binasa ko lahat ‘yon, OK naman. Hindi naman nakakaharm sa ibang tao. Puro mga quotes. Nakakatawa lang.”
(I was happy because it was good. I read all of it, it was OK. It was not harming anyone. It was full of quotes. Just funny.)
She said the so-called fan would reach out to her friends and siblings to inquire about shows and became friends with them. Ethel said she and her friends would think of tweets and “feed” them to the administrator.
“Tumutulong na sila… nagcocollab na kami ng friends ko, hanggang tinawagan ako ng Viva kasi natuwa nga sa mga tweets. Walang politika, walang siraan, walang chechebureche,” she said.
(They were helping out… my friends and I were collaborating until Viva called me because they liked the tweets. No politics, no besmirching, nothing unnecessary.)
“Maganda nga ‘yong flow ng mga tweets na nakakatawa lang. So hinayaan ko lang. Ay may admin ako, nakalibre ako, ‘yong iba nga nagbabayad ng admin.”
(The flow of the tweets that were funny was good. So I let it be. [I thought] I have an admin for free, others even pay for one.)
After the viral Twitter posts caught Viva’s attention, her book “#Charotism” was released in 2016. It was published by VRJ Books under Viva Publishing Group.
The book was anchored on the huge popularity she earned from Twitter through outspoken posts which resonated with the public.
On owning up to the book, she said, “Kailangan kong angkinin kasi ginagaya lang niya ako. Nagfifeed ako ng iti-tweet niya kaya nakakatawa.”
(I need to own up to it because it was copying me. I was feeding the tweets, that’s why it was funny.)
2019: ‘Puro politika’
Ethel said she noticed the tone of the tweets changed around 2019.
“Nung pumasok ‘yong 2019, parang iba na ‘yong flow. Puro politika nang politika lang siya,” she said. (When 2019 came, the flow changed. It was all politics.)
“Nagmessage pa ako niyan eh. ‘Sabihan mo nga ‘yan na ‘wag mangingialam ng tungkol sa pulitika at wala naman akong kahilig-hilig diyan. E ‘di dapat kumandidato na ako.’”
“Dami kong followers baka nanalo pa,” she quipped.
(I sent a message. “Tell [the admin] not to deal with politics because I am not fond of it. Then I should have been a candidate. With my many followers I might have even won.)
2020: Reporting the account
The breaking point in Ethel’s relationship with the Twitter account handler appears to be in 2020, when she was particularly hurt by one tweet.
“Kaya ko pinareport ito dahil below the belt ‘yong mga tweet. ‘Yong tinweet niya na ‘Nagbabayad naman tayo ng tax, bakit kailangan mag-ambag?’… May nagsend sa akin ng ganun. Sabi ko ‘Ha, ano na naman ang pinag-iingay niya?’”
(I reported it because the tweets were below the belt. The tweet was “We pay our taxes, why do we need to contribute?”… someone sent me that. I said, “What is this person making noise about again?”)
“Kaya nga nabwisit talaga, nanggigil ako eh. Kasi bakit mag-iingay ng ganun lalo na sa sitwasyon natin ngayon. May pandemic tayo na nangyayari sa buong mundo,” she stressed.
(That is why I was annoyed, I was frustrated. Why would you make noise like that especially in our situation now. We have a pandemic happening in the whole world.)
She began to get emotional as she said, “Naiiyak ako kasi ‘di natin alam kung makakalabas pa tayo, ‘di ba?”
(I am crying because we don’t know when we can go out, right?)
She also said the tweet made her seem like she was selfish and that she had a fundraising effort, but could not attend to it because she just had a baby.
“Nananahimik ako. Nabuntis ako wala nga akong pakialam diyan eh. Ang tagal na wala akong koneksyon diyan sa Twitter through them, sa mga kakontak niya,” she said.
(I was staying quiet. When I got pregnant I did not mind [the Twitter account]. It’s been so long since I had a connection on Twitter through them, through those [the handler] would contact.)
On political ties
Ethel reiterated that she did not earn from political posts: “E di dapat ang yaman yaman ko na (Then I should be so rich already).”
She revealed too that some politicians offered gifts because of some of the posts, and that the handler wanted to receive them. However, Ethel said she turned them down.
She also said she did not close down the account because of threats: “Wala akong death threat no. Tapos may sinasabi na ‘di daw nabayaran ang admin kaya nashutdown ‘yong Twitter account. Sino ba ang nagamit dito?”
(I have no death threats. Then others say the Twitter account was shut down because the admin was not paid. Who was used here?)
She clarified too her political views, given that the “fake” account contained tweets which criticized the present administration.
“Sa mga nagtatanong kung Dilawan o ano, ako, makakapagtransparent ako. Sinuportahan ko ‘yang pangulo natin,” she said.
(To those asking if I am a Yellow or what, I will be transparent. I supported our president.)
“Tsaka dati kahit noon pa sa Davao, magsama kami doon sa campaign. Binoto ko nga ‘yong tao eh.”
(Even in Davao, I would join the campaign. I voted for that person. I voted for that person.)
She added that she wanted to put an end to the account because of the coming 2022 elections. “Kailagan ituldukan kasi malapit na rin ang eleksyon eh. Two years na lang, baka pagkakitaan pa ‘to. Lalo na ngayon din na nasa krisis tayo.”
(It had to be ended because elections are coming. In two years, this could be profited from. Especially now that we are in a crisis.)
Ethel also took the chance to call for unity of those in different political spectrums: “Dapat ngayon hindi Duterte or Dilawan. Dapat magkaisa tayo. Kasi hindi natin alam kung [katapusan] na ng mundo. Dapat magtulong-tulong tayo.”
(It should not be Duterte or Yellows now. We should be united. Because we don’t know if this is the end of the world. We should be helping each other.)
‘Ginagamit mo ako’
She also addressed the administrator multiple times throughout the video and would be visibly emotional.
“Ano ba naman ‘yan? Bakit hinaluan mo ng pulitiko ‘yong Twitter?” she asked. “Dati OK lang eh. Katuwaan lang eh. Malay ko ba na lolobo at lolobo ng ganun ‘yong mga followers niyan.”
(What was that? Why did you mix politics on Twitter? It was OK before. Just for fun. I had no idea followers would grow and grow like that.)
She also told the administrator to make an account of their own rather than use her name. “Masyado kasing papansin. Gumawa ka na lang ng maraming account. Ikaw, sa ‘yo,” she advised.
“Ginagamit mo ako kasi ano? Dahil ako ‘to. Mas mapapansin ang mga tweets eh. May sarili ka palang hinaing. Ba’t kailangan mo ako gamitin?”
(You seek attention too much. Just make multiple accounts that’s yours. You used me why? Because this is me. My tweets would be noticed more. You have your own agenda. Why did you have to use me?) JB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.