As the issue about a talent competition’s winning contestant allegedly plagiarizing the musical arrangements from the hit local musical, Ang Huling El Bimbo, continues to grow and gain traction online, Eraserheads frontman Ely Buendia has spoken out publicly about it.
The contestant in question was initially called out by Ang Huling El Bimbo‘s director, Myke Salomon, who claimed that the contestant had “ripped off” their music “without permission.” The contestant had performed a medley of Eraserheads songs as his piece for the finals and won first place, earning PHP 1 million and an artist contract good for one year.
In a Facebook post, Buendia expressed disappointment “that there is still a culture out there, not just in entertainment, that somehow makes it okay to take credit, and be rewarded, for someone else’s work.” He compared the alleged plagiarized performance to how Ang Huling El Bimbo managed to take something that wasn’t theirs (i.e. Eraserheads songs) and transformed them into something so distinct that they can truly call their own.
“It took something old and was INSPIRED to make it NEW and FRESH. Therein lies the difference,” he said.
“I am disappointed for all the AHEB crew because I know for a fact that they poured all their hearts and souls into creating something that was true to the material and their craft,” he added. “In our day to day struggles against this oppressive life, the temptation is always there to take the fast route, the shortcut, the easy way to success. But we are human. I hope this matter is resolved soon and credit is given to those who deserve it.”
Ok.. May memo.
Sleep muna ako. pic.twitter.com/FbHheTIUkV
— Myke Salomon (@DJMYKEsalomon) August 3, 2020
In a succeeding Facebook post, Buendia urged all those involved in the talent competition to swiftly resolve the issue as they have yet to release an official statement regarding it.
“I am appealing to the people, companies and corporations involved in the AHEB plagiarism issue. You alone have the power to make this right,” he began in his statement.
“You have the power to teach a young man and all the young people out there about to join the world, our children, a most valuable lesson that can have no other effect except make them good and become better. You have the power to stand up for and give back to the art which has been a source of life for all of us. You have the power to set an example and for once do the right thing, and become a beacon of hope in these dark times ruled by greed, hate and lies.”
He added that while he agrees that there are “more pressing matters out there,” this issue goes beyond wanting an apology or to be given credit where credit is due. “Your actions will set a precedent and have repercussions in the years to come,” he said. “On which side of history do you want to be on? Search your hearts for the truth and it will set you free.”
As of writing, the contestant has already released an apology.
“There was no intention whatsoever on my part to plagiarize. I am sorry if I caused undue distress, seemed disrespectful or if I have hurt the theater community,” he said. “Clearly, as an amateur and aspiring artist, I still have so many things to learn. I humbly ask for everyone’s understanding as I navigate this new world that I have recently entered. I am not a bad person. My intentions were far different from what people think.”
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