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Philippines Not Happy With CBS TV Show

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the Philippines, they are not happy with the U.S. secretary of state - no, not Rex Tillerson, the fictional one played by Tea Leoni in the CBS drama "Madam Secretary." Michael Sullivan explains.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN, BYLINE: The trailer for next week's episode shows a fictional secretary of state punching a fictional Philippines president after an unwelcome advance.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED VOICEOVER: When a foreign leader crosses the line...

JOEL DE LA FUENTE: (As Datu Andrada, laughing).

UNIDENTIFIED VOICEOVER: ...The secretary of state is forced into a break - in diplomacy.

TEA LEONI: (As Elizabeth McCord) I clobbered a world leader instead of saving a major regional agreement.

SULLIVAN: The Philippines embassy in Washington - not pleased at all, swiftly issuing a statement to strongly protest the highly negative depiction of a character purported to be the Philippine president. In Manila, the presidential spokesman, Ernesto Abella, turned things around in what seemed a subtle shot at the U.S. president and allegations of unwanted sexual advances that surfaced during last year's campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ERNESTO ABELLA: I think they're projecting something that they really would like to say about their own situation. Really, I think they should use a fictional U.S. president.

SULLIVAN: But really, the CBS drama isn't that much of a stretch given that Philippine President Duterte is a self-described womanizer, though no one has suggested he's tried to force himself on anybody. His war on drugs, though, he's forced on an entire country - 7,500 people dead and counting. Where's the outrage about that? - a number of Facebook comments on the embassy's page asked.

For NPR News, I'm Michael Sullivan in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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