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Aspiring Model Calls Out a Photographer for Sexual Harassment

According to a now-viral post, Filipino photographer Gem Tugade allegedly threatened Shienalyn Verzosa that he'll also leak her nude photos online.
Aspiring Model Calls Out a Photographer for Sexual Harassment
IMAGE FACEBOOK/chinchinverzosa
According to a now-viral post, Filipino photographer Gem Tugade allegedly threatened Shienalyn Verzosa that he'll also leak her nude photos online.

An aspiring model's test shoot with a local photographer quickly went sour after he allegedly made inappropriate remarks and advances towards her. Shienalyn Verzosa came forward with her traumatic story and recounted the entire experience on her Facebook post, which has gone viral since.

According to the post, it all started when a photographer named Gem Tugade continuously messaged and called her about collaborating for a photoshoot, to which she eventually agreed because he was so persistent.

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Before the shoot, Shienalyn claims she asked the photographer several times if there will be other people at the shoot, but he answered no, reasoning that she might feel awkward given the daring nature of the shoot. She still agreed, trusting that he's a professional. "Dahil mataas respeto ko sayo at alam ko professional ka since puro sikat at kilalang photog and model nakakasama mo... Kaya nag tiwala ako sayo," she writes.

On the day of the shoot, the model says she arrived late and instead offered to cancel since they were already losing daylight. The photographer, however, insisted they push through, and so they did. After shooting several layouts, she suggested that they could already wrap up but Gem again insisted that they still needed to shoot more. "Gandang-ganda ako sa mga kuha mo sakin. Sabi ko okay na yan," she recounts.

Shienalyn then proceeds to recall the inappropriate advances he made to her during the shoot. Before they started, she claims the photographer told her not to change outfits in the comfort room anymore, which she found strange, so she still did so. The model started feeling more alarmed when Gem suddenly asked her if he could excuse himself to bathroom in case he became aroused while shooting. "Sabi ko hala sir seryoso ka ba? Wag ganun bad yun. Then you [smiled sarcastically] at me," she writes.

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The scenes that followed include graphic language, but according to Shienalyn, the photographer allegedly gave her inappropriate art direction, including telling her to look aroused and to take her hands off her chest to expose herself. The model refused despite the photographer's persistence. She also claims that Gem was touching his private part throughout the shoot, and even asked her to relieve himself in front of her and, not long after, to have sex with him. When she refused, he offered to pay and even threatened to leak her nude photos online.

Losing her patience, the model threatened the photographer back and insisted for him to delete all the photos they took. Shienalyn deleted them from the camera herself, with Gem still holding the device as she did so. Thereafter, she walked out of the hotel.

"Akala ko mabait ka. Lumabas ugali mo [nung] nasa hotel na tayo. Pumayag ako one on one dahil nagtiwala ako sayo dahil alam kong pro ka pero [hindi] pala," the model narrates in her post. She says the incident has left her "depressed and traumatized," especially after discovering that the deleted photos could still be recovered.

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To attest to her statements, the model attached to the post several screenshots of their Facebook conversations. Accordingly, she's already started pursuing legal actions against Gem as well. She also notes that she wrote the now-viral post to warn other aspiring models to be more careful about who they choose to work with.

As of writing, the questioned photographer's social media accounts have either been deactivated or set to private.

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