Shopee PH gets flak for getting Toni Gonzaga

by Sep 30, 2022Featured Article, News

MANILA, Philippines — No more adding to one of the carts, then?

Shopee, a leading e-commerce operator found itself under fire after announcing two major decisions this week that appeared to many Filipinos to be conflicting: downsizing its local staff and hiring a politically divisive and highly paid celebrity as its new brand ambassador.

The twin moves immediately prompted a call for a boycott of the online mall with many on social media announcing they would be removing the Shopee app from their phones.

Early this week, the Singapore-based e-commerce giant announced that it was letting go of a “low single-digit percentage” of its 67,000-strong staff globally. The downsizing came after it reported a $931 million loss in the second quarter of 2021.

While it was laying off its employees, Shopee Philippines released a teaser that it was getting a new brand ambassador and revealed on Thursday that it was actress and vlogger Toni Gonzaga, an avid supporter of President Marcos who became a popular fixture in his presidential campaign.


Internal unrest

Instead of being enticed to “add to cart” as online shoppers, many Filipino Shopee customers were outraged by the choice of Gonzaga with her expected fat pay check that for them didn’t square up with the economic reasoning for the layoffs.

The celebrity’s selection as a brand ambassador has also apparently sowed resentment among a number of company’s staff.

A Shopee Philippines employee, who requested anonymity, told the Inquirer that a letter from the staff was circulating online for signature before it was to be submitted to top company executives. The letter will question why the company seems to be getting political with its hiring, the employee said.

In response to the flak it was getting for hiring Gonzaga, a Shopee Philippines representative told the Inquirer that she was chosen for her “mass appeal,” not for her political leanings.

“Together with our newest brand ambassador, Toni, we are working to deliver entertaining content to drive anticipation leading up to the upcoming 10.10 Brands Festival,” the company said in a statement.