FHM Philippines caused a stir on February 25 when they posted a photo of their March 2012 cover, PEP.ph reports. In it, actress Bela Padilla was posing in a pink bikini surrounded by black female models. The cover blurb read, "Bela Padilla: Stepping Out of the Shadows."
Netizens immediately reacted to the photo, saying it was racist. The post, which has since been deleted, received feedback from both Facebook and Twitter users in just a few hours.
On February 26, Bela herself clarified the concept of the cover on her official Twitter account, @belavly. "I meant no harm with this cover," she Tweeted. "I'm so sorry to everyone who got offended. I hope all of you see the beauty of the cover and appreciate it."
"The concept of my @FHMPhil cover was stepping out of MY inhibitions MY fears and MY shadows," she added. "Not belittling any race."
FHM Philippines released their official statement on the issue on February 27. In it, they said that they have considered the "slew of comments on the supposed 'racism' of the cover image and cover line" and have decided to change the cover of the issue before it hits the stands in March.
"We apologize and thank those who have raised their points," they said in the statement. "We apologize to Bela Padilla for any distress this may have caused her. In our pursuit to come up with edgier covers, we will strive to be more sensitive next time."
The issue has also reached international shores with Telegraph.co.uk and NYDailynews.com covering it on their news sites.
For more on Bela Padilla, check these out on FN:
(Photo courtesy of Summit Media)