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July 26, 2014

#NoToSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH trending continues, UNTV37 Boycotts Sofitel Manila for Discrimination

Now on its second week, the campaign #NoToSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH have been enjoying the top trending in twitter worldwide, and have created a louder buzz on facebook and instagram.

UNTV has launched a campaign that challenges its supporters to take part in.

At appoximately 9:17 PM (PHT) on July 19, 2014, #NoToSofitelDay7 and #BoycottSofitelPHDay7 start to fill the 3rd and 4th spots on Twitter’s Worldwide Trends.

The campaign stemmed from the report received by UNTV37 Chief Executive Office, Kuya Daniel Razon, that Hotel Sofitel Manila dropped the station from its channel listings. 

This, for no apparent reason.

This prompted Razon to call on UNTV37 supporters to launch a boycott against the hotel for clear discrimination of the station – a free channel that should be enjoying any and all channel listings in local and cable TV providers.

Soon after the launching of the campaign, issues after issues against said hotel were brought to the public’s attention. 

Age discrimination

Earlier in June, distinguished Election lawyer, Atty. Romulo Macalintal, filed a case against Sofitel when it refused to grant him 20% senior citizens discount on February 8, 2014, while he was dining with a friend at the Sofitel Le Bar Restaurant.

Macalintal claims that this is a violation of his rights as a senior citizen and that such move by said hotel is a clear case of age discrimination.

Social Status discrimination

Another issue that was brought to public attention is about the two nannies who were denied entry to the hotel’s buffet area just because they were wearing “scrub suits.” 

This apparently happened in December 2012, when said nannies of one of the guests in a wedding reception held in Sofitel were not allowed to enter the buffet area where they were about to dine because they were in their nanny uniforms. 

Said guest, who is also an Accor Advantage Plus member, cried social status discrimination pertaining to the incident.

Accor Advantage Plus is a program that offers Accor hotel customers advantages and rewards, wherein one of its member-hotels is Sofitel. 

Racial discrimination

Another incident was the refusal of Sofitel for a Filipino teenager, who was a hotel guest, to enter because the security said that “food bought from outside is not allowed.”

This happened in November 2013. The young man who didn’t really enjoy the food in the hotel bought food from a fastfood chain; but upon entering the hotel, the security guard didn’t allow him entry and told him to just eat the food in his car.

The following day, one of the young man’s companion saw a number of foreigners entering the hotel with “food bought from outside” right in front of the hotel security. 

Good thing this companion brought his smart phone and was able to video the whole thing. But when he showed the video to the Duty Manager, all that was said was “pagsasabihan ko na lang po ang guard” [I will just tell about this to the guard].

No sooner than he said it, another group of foreigners came in with “food bought from outside”. A glaring case of racial discrimination.

Media discrimination

And just recently, this action by Sofitel against UNTV37 happened. Razon and UNTV supporters cried media discrimination.

In its official statement, Sofitel reasoned “system-limited” facility as the basis of them removing the station in its channel listing.

Netizens who support UNTV37, on the other hand, stressed that a 5-star hotel with a limited system to carry a local free-tv channel is beyond any sane man’s comprehension.

They claimed that a small eatery with a rundown TV set is able to receive transmission of UNTV37, so why can’t a 5-star hotel, with supposed high technology and state-of-the-art facilities?

For them, this is simply absurd. And very unacceptable.

Sofitel also stated that it will consider re-instating the UNTV Channel if this is a request from their guests.

From UNTV37 side, however, the fact that the station formally requested Sofitel to include it in the channel list is already a guest request and feedback. 

The event conducted by the station in Sofitel costs more than a hundred guests. Therefore, Sofitel’s lack of action to reinstate UNTV37 is evidently unjustified.

For UNTV, this is what the campaign is all about. It is about the station’s indignation of the absurd, its refusal to accept the unacceptable, and its rejection to excuse such unjustifiable act.

The station maintained that discrimination in any shape or form does not, and should not, have room in a society that upholds democracy.

And the #NoToSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH trending continues.

Within just 30 minutes of its first mention, #NoToSofitelDay12 and #BoycottSofitelPHDay12 climb up the 4th and 5th spots of Twitter's Philippines Trends.

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