Actress Monique Wilson, Rep. Bernadette Dy decry dumbing down of TV audiences; Wilson urges artists to "do something concrete about our rage"

( Actress Monique Wilson, best known for staging and directing The Vagina Monologues in the country as well as playing Kim in Miss Saigon at the West End in the 90s has  slammed "all our TV networks that dumb down audiences in one way or the other," in the wake of the controversial Willing Willie episode where six-year-old Jan-Jan Estrada cried while gyrating in exchange for a P10,000 cash prize, reports

The report published today cited Wilson’s blog where she said, "Shows like Willing Willie and many others... dumb down audiences. They disempower them by creating a mendicant society with game shows that promise ’quick money.’ They keep them dependent on handouts, instead of creating opportunities for them to build skills."

The internationally acclaimed artist also lashed out against "how networks create demarcation lines-A and B for middle and upper classes, C and D for lower classes." She said, "What kind of senseless segregating is that? It’s like saying that depending on what ’class’ you belong to, you cannot ’appreciate’ certain kinds of shows. This insults me, as it should insult everybody."

Wilson, who alternated with the Tony-winning Lea Salonga in the original West End production of Miss Saigon, called on fellow artists, according to "We can all rant and rave, but unless we do something concrete about our rage, we will just be passive bystanders." She added, "Don’t sit on the fence because you fear you won’t be given work. It is this fear that networks also rely on to keep their machinery in place-machinery that lacks not only some very basic human values but also aesthetics."

She suggested protesting through boycotts. "They hit where it has a tangible economic effect. That is how apartheid South Africa crumbled. That is what is supporting the Palestinians’ right to self-determination."

Meanwhile, Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy said top ad spenders should support quiz shows, such as the defunct Battle of the Brains and IQ 7, instead of song-and-dance programs that offer cash prizes.

"I believe Jan-Jan and his parents would have been prouder to have the six-year-old minor train and join an academic quiz contest had there been one airing on television," Dy said in a statement reported by "Advertisers of Willing Willie demonstrated concern for the welfare of children when they swiftly withdrew advertising support for the program. Can they be as quick to pick our challenge for them to back the revival of academic competition programs on TV?"

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