This weekend, an episode of CBS political drama Madam Secretary will feature a lecherous Filipino president getting punched in the face.
The episode, scheduled to air on Saturday, was promoted with a trailer that’s getting people talking, because many are drawing parallels with the real president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, who’s been criticised for making overtly inappropriate and sexist remarks.
The episode’s plot will feature the fictional president Datu Andrada (played by Joel de la Fuente), making sexual advances toward the protagonist, U.S. Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (played by Ta Leoni).
McCord ends up punching Andrada in the face, jeopardising relationships between the two countries.
The parallel did not sit well with the Philippines embassy in Washington, which published a statement protesting the negative depiction:
“While Madam Secretary is a work of fiction, it tracks and mirrors current events,” the embassy said.
“This highly negative portrayal… not only casts doubt on the respectability of the Office of the Philippine President but also denigrates [the] way our nation navigates foreign affairs.”
A spokesperson for Duterte said that the show should have used a fictional parallel to Trump instead.
Presidential Spokesperson Abella on “Madam Secretary” episode: They’re confused in images. They should use a fictional U.S. President.
CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) March 7, 2017
Filipinos were also up in arms:
But others see the parallel as a really apt joke:
I wonder if Filipinos will be able to complain with a straight face that the fictional PH President in Madam Secretary is a sexual harasser
Miguel Arguelles (@cmarguel) March 7, 2017
Prior to election last year, Duterte made international headlines for some of his public remarks, including a joke about the gang rape of an Australian missionary. He has also catcalled a female reporter and insulted a female senator who was critical of his war on drugs.