CHR, PCW urge probe into content creators' prank videos 'promoting sexual abuse'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 13) — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) are calling on concerned agencies to investigate content creators filming pranks which possibly violate laws against sexual harassment.

In separate statements, the two commissions said they received reports of some videos where men would set up hidden cameras and — as a supposed prank — lay their heads on unsuspecting female strangers' laps, hold their hands, catcall them, or even solicit kisses by citing made-up reasons.

"The Commission on Human Rights finds it gravely disturbing that, in pursuit of clout and increased engagement, some content creators would resort [to] pranks that violate a number of human rights, including right to privacy, security, and safety, especially of women and members of the LGBTQIA community," CHR Executive Director Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said on Saturday.

Both agencies warned that such videos tend to normalize gender-based violence by depicting unwanted sexual advances as acceptable and even entertaining.

"Worse, some generate income from doing tricks that people want to see on video, banking on subconscious desires that must not be manifested, click baits, and trends," read the PCW statement issued Friday.

The commissions reminded the public that under Republic Act No. 11313, or the Safe Spaces Act, any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks in public spaces against a person may be considered a criminal act, regardless of the motive.

CHR also said that besides authorities, social media platforms have an obligation to prevent such violations from perpetuating by refusing to tolerate contents "promoting sexual abuse."

"We hope that we do not take incidents like these lightly because human rights are at stake," CHR said. "Human rights violations, even those masked by humor, remain to be manifestations of violations and abuse, and should never be a laughing matter."