Jimmy says sorry, then lies low
After causing a furor with his video “20 Reasons I Dislike the Philippines,” then apologizing, American national Jimmy Sieczka is lying low.
He is reportedly in Manila but details of his whereabouts were not clear.
Graham Cvimar, owner of Channelfix.com that hosted the controversial video, told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview that the American freelancer was somewhere in Manila.
The channel posted a follow-up video of the American making a guarded apology for the project, which earlier generated more than 128,000 views in the website www.channelfix.com.
In a video he took of himself, Sieczka said it was not his intention to “hurt” Filipinos in his earlier video shot in Cebu City, where he criticized poor services in traffic, garbage collection, sanitation, and peace and order, among others.
But he stood by his observations about the shortcomings of the quality of life here.
“I’m deeply sorry that I have offended some of the people in the Philippines and the show is just made to point out obvious things,” he said in his apology.
The American was shown occasionally scratching his head while filming himself in a video of clearly lower production quality than the two earlier videos about the Philippines that were identified as work posted by a certain Michael Goodman.
Another video “20 Reasons I love the Philippines” starred two other foreign male hosts, but the negative video starring “Jimmy” drew more attention with 129,934 views versus 92,474 views for the positive video as of yesterday.
The negative video also went viral on YouTube and was reposted in many sites.
Sieczka said he does not ‘hate’ the country or the people living in it.
“There is never a word used or there was never an idea that was never spoken by me. That was just an idea that was misconstrued online. Hate is a very strong word. I don’t hate anyone or I don’t hate anything. It saddens me for people to think that I hate this nation,” said Sieczka.
Sieczka used to work in Cebu as an audio mixer and sound editor in post-production.
A special working permit was issued to him when he was first hired by Bigfoot Studios through their HongKong affiliate, said Stephanie Manuel, Bigfoot’s Human Resource head. She said Sieczka’s last project ended in July 2011.
Bigfoot operates an international film academy and production studios in Lapu-Lapu City.
Manuel said she thought the American had left the Philippines as Bigfoot already notified the US Embassy that his work contract had ended. She said she was not aware if Sieczka found another employer in the Philippines.
CDN was able to talk to Cvimar by calling the channelfix.com website’s contact number. He identified himself as the owner of Channelfix.com and said the US-based company was a venue for independent film makers.
He used a mobile phone number in the Philippines and said he was calling from Cebu.
Cvimar said Siezcka was a freelancer and contributor of the site, which he said screens or vets all material before posting them online.
In the “20 Reasons I Love the Philippines” video, two other American men visit different locations in Cebu and praise atttractions like the availability of freshly baked bread in almost every street corner, tasty roasted chicken, ubiquitous basketball courts, “great beaches” and pocket forests.
This time, most of the shots were filmed in Lapu-Lapu City and ended a man shouting over a Mactan-Mandaue bridge: “I love the Philippines!”
Cebu City officials no longer plan to declare Sieczka “persona non grata” because of the apology he made, said Sylvan Jakosalem, chief of the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), who posted a comment on the site.
He also posted contact information for the public to send suggestions, comments or complaints about Cebu City traffic.
“Let’s all work together to make Cebu City a more liveable city. Like I posted last night, jimmy’s video, plus all your comments, is a wake up call for all of us even when we think we’re already awake,” said Jakosalem.
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