Netizens hit Billy, Coleen over 'insensitive' pre-wedding photos with Ethiopian kids and women

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 10) — Netizens are calling out television personalities Billy Crawford and Coleen Garcia over their supposedly "insensitive" pre-wedding photos with Ethiopian children and women in the background.

Just hours after the couple and their photographer posted images from their grand photoshoot in Lalibela, Ethiopia, social media went abuzz over the two-- both for good and bad reasons.

The engaged couple had their photoshoot in a remote village in the African nation. Photos show them donning vividly colored outfits, with Ethiopia’s jaw-dropping scenery as a backdrop.


A post shared by Billy Crawford (@billycrawford) on



However, while some marveled at the photographs' beauty, others were uncomfortable with several photos that showed the couple either with locals surrounding them or posing at the back.

Netizens called the photos, which have now been deleted, “distasteful” for seemingly using the villagers as "props."



One post by Facebook user Rachel Ravana called the photos "heartbreaking and enraging” at the same time."

"I don't think we should all admire a prenup photoshoot making background props out of Ethiopian women & children. These photos are heartbreaking & enraging at the same time. I understand that prenup photoshoots get so extra these days but to this extent?" she said.


Another twitter user, Erika Nicole, said she was bothered by the contrast of rich and poor in the shots.

"Ako lang ba yung bothered sa prenup photoshoot ni Coleen and Billy? How they posed in their glamorous clothes and used the Ethiopian locals as props? It’s like showing the stark contrast of the rich from the poor," she said.


However, many were also those happy for the beautiful couple, and commended the two for their “unique” concept.



The pictures have been deleted as of writing. Photographer Oly Ruiz, who has also removed the said pictures from his instagram, had earlier come to their defense.

Ruiz had responded to comments in his now-deleted Instagram post, saying they were “highlighting” the beauty of the place and the people.

“We talked to these people and even asked permission. It’s actually offensive for people to interpret them as props,” he said.

“Why slaves? because they are Africans? Dapat ba pinag gown din namin sila? These people are beautiful, how they are shot is how they are in real life, if you see them as slaves then I feel bad for you,” he added.