On May 18 2021, a casting call from Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) began circulating online, with explicit provisions against talents who have taken part in Boys Love (BL) series.

The recent rise of Filipino BL series has helped mainstream LGBTQIA+ narratives in Philippine media. Discrimination against actors who have chosen to take part in this gradual but no less important cultural shift is malicious and harmful to LGBTQIA+ actors and their livelihoods, especially in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.

Notably, this explicit exclusion comes years after JFC has claimed to address a history of discriminatory actions criticized by the public.

In 2017, the company came under fire for its treatment of Bunny Cadag, a genderqueer transcriber who was barred from from reporting for work in the company’s head office in Ortigas after having been told that the company was “not welcoming” to the idea of a “transgender” in the workplace1 and “not ready” to accept LGBTQ culture.2 In 2018, a Jollibee branch in Iloilo hired poi dancers for the Iloilo Mardi Gras parade. Among them was Iloilo Pride Team’s transgender member Mylez Hollingsworth who was told to take off her wig because the branch manager said it “destroys” Jollibee’s image.3

In response, JFC has issued a public apology for offending sensibilities, shifting the blame of discriminatory acts on third-parties, as well as announcing plans to conduct SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression) trainings4 as a means of redress. Today, it appears the company’s commitment against discrimination remains merely a part of image-building, instead of an active and conscious effort to ensure diversity and inclusion in the company. It cannot keep on hiding behind this image, and must actually work on the its commitments instead of using progressive language to conceal a persisting culture of discrimination.

We reiterate our calls for the passage of a SOGIE-specific Anti-Discrimination Law which is instrumental in holding companies like JFC accountable before the courts, as they violate the rights of LGBTQIA+ workers in insidious and deliberate ways.


Metro Manila Pride
18 May 2021

1 ABS CBN News – Jollibee apologizes after LGBT member cries discrimination
2 Inquirer – LGBTQ member calls out workplace discrimination in Jollibee
3 Statement of the Iloilo Pride Team on the recent homophobic incident at the Iloilo Mardi Gras 2018
Jollibee Foods Corporation’s official statement regarding Bunny Cadag’s post

This statement is also released on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.