Billy Crawford and Coleen Garcia have responded to the backlash surrounding their photoshoot in Ethiopia: "It's unfortunate how it was taken out of context. It's far from what we intended. We were invited and sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines to do our shoot there for their tourism and capture their natural environment because we were told that tourism helps their economy. That's why we were in Ethiopia."

Read their full joint statement below. (ABS-CBN)

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The backlash came after concerns were raised about the cultural implications of a few photos that were taken with Ethiopian children. Netizens accused the couple of using Ethiopians as "background" or "props" while the couple posed in a colorful ensemble.

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In a separate interview with PEP.ph about the concept behind the outfits, shoot stylist Adrianne Concepcion said the intent of the shoot was to use "bold prints, textures, and rich colors."

The stylist continued, “We collaborated with Filipino designers to realize this idea.

“Given that we do not have specific African prints which are native to their region, our local designers had the creative liberty to render their own interpretations.” Read the full PEP.ph interview here.

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This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

*Minor edits have been made by FemaleNetwork.com editors.

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