I’ve never heard of this Vic Fabe guy before, or even (knowingly) saw any of his works. But these past days, his name has been making the (online) rounds. And NOT, I should say, for a good reason. Instead, it is because of the videos supposedly taken while he (a photographer) engaged in sexual acts with men (his models).
For those connected online, it can’t be escaped. Type the guy’s name, and Google will give you links related to his “scandal”. Don’t type it, and the reprehensible #VicFabeScandal hashtag appears in LGBTQI-related feeds anyway.
Let’s get this one out first: What consenting adults do in their bedrooms (or, if the case may be, in their studios) is their business.
BUT when acts (sexual or not) happen coupled with abuses of power/authority, then we’re entering the #MeToo domain.
Fabe may deserve to be heard, too (so we can get his side of the story). But if judgment of him is solely based on the videos making the rounds and the discussions surrounding these videos, then it can be (rightly) claimed that a position of power was used to take advantage of others.
The basic facts are: as the man behind the camera, Fabe was in a position of power, able to “lure” these wannabe actors/models for photoshoots (via cheap rates, free shoots, et cetera). And then, during these photoshoots, things then turn sexual WITH (known by these models or not) the camera still turned on (which is why there are these videos making the rounds now).
How is this no different from a gay male teacher who has sex with his male students for them to get good grades? Or – venturing into the straight world in the international fashion industry – the likes of famed photographers Terry Richardson, Mario Testino and Bruce Weber who were all accused of using their prominence/positions of power to take advantage of their (fame-seeking or just-making-a-living) models?
This #VicFabeScandal ought to be a big issue (also taking into consideration that this touches on the cybercrime prevention law with Fabe claiming that the videos were just stolen from him; and the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009).
But for me, just as big an issue are the responses of members of the LGBTQI community to it.
I have heard many members of the LGBTQI community (usually gay and bi-identifying men) who end up “defending” Fabe’s alleged acts, seemingly unaware of the power dynamics involved in what transpired.
There are those who claimed that “wala namang nawala sa mga lalaki (these men didn’t lose anything),” a comment from one stated. “Sumikat pa nga (This even made them popular).”
I have a friend who said “binayaran naman, so keri na (the boys were paid anyway, so what they went through isn’t an issue).” He stressed that “pokpok naman yung iba eh (some of the men are just prostitutes, anyway)”; blind to the fact that even those in the sex industry can be abused.
There are emerging/wannabe photographers who openly say that they now want to “pursue photography seriously… if only to mimic Vic Fabe.” Apparently, “ang swerte ng balyena (that whale – to refer to Fabe’s weight – is lucky)!”
There are those who now seemingly place Fabe in a pedestal – e.g. “Vic Fabe ikaw na talaga ang nag-iisa (Vic Fabe you have no peers)!”
And there are a lot who choose to ignore discussing this issue altogether, and instead just focus on asking “sino may copies ng videos ng #VicFabeScandal, papasa naman (who has copies of the #VicFabeScandal videos, please pass them).”
We’ve all been here before.
Remember Jojo Veloso, that talent agent who also had videos showing him fondling the private parts of his talents (e.g. Hans Montenegro)? History, it seems, repeated itself.
If you think you’re too young to remember Veloso, then just think of the #MeToo movement.
How it also affects LGBTQI people – e.g. Cara Delevingne (June Moone/Enchantress in “Suicide Squad”), who claimed that when she was 23, disgraced film studio executive Harvey Weinstein also propositioned her (and even asking her if she had slept with any of the women she was seen out with in the media).
But – as we are now seeing – how this, too, highlights that members of our community can be perpetrators.
In Hollywood, Kevin Spacey already faced a backlash; but locally, we continue ignoring/not discussing this. In case you didn’t know: Veloso entered local politics, and… won.
And if the only “discussion” that will happen re Fabe are the “send mo naman ang copies ng scandals (send us copies of the scandals)”, then it seems like we won’t really get to the bottom of what happened.
Meaning, in not so many words: This will just be swept under the rug… until a new (similar) scandal arises.
Members of the LGBTQI community continue to experience abuses. We – of all people – should know what it feels like to be silenced by people in positions of power/authority.
And so unless we face (and admit) that we can be reflections of what’s wrong with the very system that abuses us, our long overdue #MeToo revolution won’t happen.
I have also heard of “open secrets”, where some indie filmmakers allegedly have sex (and even pimp) their actors in exchange for roles in flicks. Or of gay male teachers who – after having sexual relations with their students (in return for good grades or whatever) – take and then share naked pics of these students to their friends.
These are but some of the many abuses happening, with the perpetrators happening to be also LGBTQI community members. And we need to not only call them out, but stop them. Just as we would if/when the perpetrators are not members of the LGBTQI community. Abuse, after all, is abuse.
And simply because in not so many words, we should stop being enablers of perpetrators of abuses we complain about.
Via his Twitter account (@vicfabephotos), Fabe released statements regarding the scandal.
On February 6, for instance, he posted:
Photo Scandal? Really, did you ever think that those videos were stolen and being sold by the alter community at my expense. Why dont you focus on the Alter Community where they deceive unsuspecting men and telling then to jerk off. Once they succeed they spread it maliciously.
On February 9:
It all started with my Google Drive and its hacked contents that are my personal sex videos. Stolen by an evil alter and maliciously posted online. And that started in September 2017. I just had 1k followers then and now it’s almost 6k now. Amazing. 🙂
On February 11:
The guy who was with me is so depressed. He has thoughts of committing suicide. Kaya please STOP NA. STOP SPREADING HIS PICTURES. Hindi na to nakakatuwa. Be a responsible alter. I know may mga kapatid kayong lalake. Pic ko nalang ang ilabas niyo. Please.
Again on February 11:
Hindi ko nilabas ang sex video ko. NINAKAW YAN SA GOOGLE DRIVE KO. Those are for private use only. Im sure may kapatid ka na lalaki and I hope marealize mo na shaming them will bring back bad Karma sa family mo.
As of 7.20PM of February 13, @vicfabephotos has been deactivated; though his webpage (vicfabe.com) is still up. On the sidebar, there is a link to the subscription page for $49.95 per month to be able to access the entirety of the site.