[PHOTO - ANNE Curtis: I felt hurt.]

MANILA, MARCH 3, 2012 (INQUIRER) By: Marinel R. Cruz - Actress-TV host Anne Curtis says she meant no disrespect for GMA 7 and its artists when she commented on her Twitter page about an incident at a recent awards ceremony.

“I’m not dissing the network or its artists. I even said in my tweets, ‘Don’t get mad at the GMA staff. They probably had their own reasons. I’m just saying this so Thomasians will know what really happened that night, why I suddenly disappeared’,” the actress said, quoting her tweets posted on Nov. 11.

Curtis was referring to the USTv Students’ Choice Awards Kick-Off Party on Nov. 10 at the University of Santo Tomas campus in Espańa, Manila. The USTv Awards is an annual event that honors entertainment personalities whom students believe “promote positive values in pop culture on television.”

“I was made to go (to UST) between 7 and 7:30 p.m.,” Curtis recalled. “They (organizers) told my road manager that as soon as I get there, it would be my turn [to go onstage]. So I waited … They told me that since TV5 people were already performing, I would appear after them and before the GMA 7 artists.”

Rival station intrusion

Curtis claimed that a staff member from GMA 7 tried to stop her from going onstage. “I said to her, ‘Ate two minutes lang na hi and hello.’ I didn’t even understand what her reply to me was. She just left me,” Anne said. “I felt hurt. I simply wanted to say hello to the people. How bad could that be? I even said it’s okay if I don’t get to sing, but they really didn’t allow me.”

On Nov. 11, Angel Javier, GMA 7 AVP for corporate communications, sent the network’s “side of the story.”

Javier pointed out that network representatives were briefed by organizers on program sequencing prior to the event, and that based on the schedule, GMA 7 artists were supposed to perform at 7 p.m.

“Our talents were at the venue as early as 5 p.m.,” the GMA 7 statement said. “Last-minute insertion of the cast of ABS-CBN’s ‘Banana Split’ in the program, however, further pushed back the schedule.”

GMA 7 not informed

Javier then said GMA 7 was not informed in any previous meeting that Curtis would be part of the program. However, Javier admitted that when the Kapuso artists were about to go onstage, they were asked if Curtis could go first.

“However, GMA staff declined and instructed the floor director and production staff to please proceed with the program sequence, as the Kapuso stars also had other schedules to go to, and by this time were already waiting for nearly three hours,” the statement said. “GMA later found out that Ms Curtis had left the venue and had tweeted about the incident … which elicited a lot of negative reaction toward GMA.”

The statement added: “We are hoping that the organizers could come forward and clarify matters to avoid blowing things out of proportion.”

Organizer: ‘Move on’

In a Nov. 12 statement released by ABS-CBN’s corporate communications head Bong Osorio, he said “the organizers of the event, who should be the ones making the decisions for the program, failed to control the incident.”

On Nov. 14, the UST office of the secretary general, which organized the event, expressed regret over “any misunderstanding or confusion that may have occurred unintentionally and caused inconvenience to some.”

In a statement sent to Inquirer Entertainment, it encouraged “all parties” to “move on and continue with our common commitment of promoting positive values in mass media. After all, it is for this that the USTv Students’ Choice Awards came into being.”

The organizer admitted that the event “featured a program with a predetermined sequence aimed at giving all the celebrities in attendance ample time to meet and perform before the Thomasian audience. Since the TV networks normally cannot declare the exact number of talents who would be able to come, last-minute adjustments were inevitable, subject, however, to mutual agreement of the concerned parties.”

Defending her posts on Twitter, Curtis said: “It’s only proper that I explain to them (audience) the reason why I left. I owe that to the Thomasians who tweeted and waited for me. Ngayon, sana tumigil na ang issue.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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