Lea Salonga has gone viral for the professional way in which she handled fans who harassed her backstage.
What happened: On Saturday, Cristopher Retokelly Carpila posted a video of the incident on Facebook, which happened last week after a performance of the Broadway musical “Here Lies Love” at New York’s Broadway Theatre.
In the two-minute clip, a fan can be heard speaking to the 52-year-old Filipino actor outside her dressing room and asking if they could take a picture with her.
“Who are you?” Salonga asks, seemingly confused. “I’m so sorry, I don’t know who you are.”
“Unless you’re on the guest list, we cannot have you back here,” she firmly adds. “So you’ll have to go to the [stage] door. I’m sorry, because if I allow this now, then other people are going to take advantage of this.”
Another fan mentions that they are friends of Giselle “G” Töngi, one of the production’s co-producers. Salonga repeats that they are not on the guest list before calmly asking them to wait over at the stage door. She also tries to explain that not allowing fans into her dressing room is for “security purposes.”
The fans follow Salonga down a hallway, and she eventually shows them the location of the stage door, which leads to the outside of the building. Before the video ends, the actor accepts their request to take a photo with her.
The filmed incident, which made headlines over the weekend, has already been viewed over 2.1 million times.
Sharing her side of the story: On Monday, Salonga took to Twitter to address the incident.
“Just a reminder… I have boundaries. Do not cross them. Thank you,” she wrote in one tweet.
“When one of our lead producers and our dance captain saw the video and learned about what happened, they said, ‘You were still very nice, if that were me I would’ve cussed at them and kicked them out,’” she wrote in another tweet. “I’m not the type to cuss people out, but I will protect my territory and my boundaries. If I lose fans as a result, so be it.”
Tighter security: Other Twitter users wrote about the incident, seemingly frustrated by the Filipino fans’ behavior.
Filipino journalist Ruel Mendoza declared that the fans “think that they are entitled to do what they want and not follow rules. … The venue needs tighter security.”
Salonga replied to Mendoza’s tweet, saying, “
Hi, Ruel! Actually, we have multiple levels of security at the theater. But I had a ton of guests that night and perhaps they folded right into them. Security policies have been even more tightened. Thanks for your concern, and hope to see you on our dance floor soon! It’ll be good to see you again!”
Salonga also shared in another tweet that she spoke with Töngi about the incident, writing, “I checked in with G after this happened… she had no idea who they were.”
About “Here Lies Love”: Salonga, who is making a guest appearance in the new Broadway musical, started her five-week run on Tuesday.
She notably performs the song “Just Ask the Flowers” as Aurora Aquino, the mother of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. The latter’s assassination was the trigger that sparked the Philippines’ People Power Revolution, which resulted in the downfall of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.