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Of animal cruelty and unprofessionalism: Wedding videographer doesn't deliver output as groom kills snake

By NICK GARCIA Published Oct 23, 2023 7:27 pm

A videographer recalled walking out of a wedding reception after the groom allegedly killed a snake, raising discussions on animal cruelty and unprofessionalism.

X (formerly Twitter) user Ben Jan, who has over 12,800 followers, noted the snake was outdoors when the groom smashed its head.

“And the bride clapped and probably thought it made him look good and manly,” Jan said. “P—NGINA NYO, MANIGAS KAYO WALANG VIDEO VIDEO, P—YU KAYO.”

Jan also shared an excerpt of their purported conversation with the couple’s team, asking where they were as well as their videos since there was no copy on the laptop.

“Ask mo ung ahas,” Jan supposedly replied.

The identity of the couple, as well as the wedding organizers and other concerned parties, are unknown.

Users in the comments criticized Jan for supposedly overreacting and being unprofessional, even accusing him of breach of contract.

“You’re hired by them, do what you’re paid to do,” one user said.

“It’s still very unprofessional to walk away without saying anything to the client who trusted you and your craft,” another user said. “If what they did has something to do with your job or you as a person, it’s valid to walk away. You could have told him not to kill it though.”

Another one, meanwhile, pointed out that the groom probably had a flight or fight response and it was just human instinct.

In a separate thread, Jan said they stand by their actions.

“OA na kung OA, pero if I couldn’t do anything to stop that UNNECESSARY CRUELTY,” Jan said, “I have no business glorifying what these people are celebrating either. Ganun lang ['y]un.”


Jan also acknowledged that what they did was unprofessional, but cheekily responded they’ll send the couple a video on the importance of snakes in the ecosystem.

They also noted they’re not proud of their original tweet going viral, adding that killing a snake in its own habitat—an “area full of trees and shrubs around”—in front of people is not something to be proud of.

“[I] don’t not (sic) expect any of you to agree with me or to be on my side when I tweeted this,” Jan said. “I’m at peace with what I did[.]”

'Unacceptable,' 'unwise'

Ashley Fruno, director of animal assistance programs of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia, told PhilSTAR L!fe that animal cruelty is unacceptable “no matter where it occurs.”

“We applaud the videographer for taking a strong stance against the killing of the snake by walking out of the reception,” Fruno said.

“It’s appalling that the groom was applauded for this cowardly act. Cruelty to animals isn’t something that should ever be celebrated or rewarded.”

Celebrity wedding videographer Jason Magbanua, meanwhile, told L!fe that while his industry colleague may have their reasons, it’s “unwise” to publicize the incident.

“My team will always put professionalism above all else,” Magbanua said.

Though there have been many instances that his vision didn’t align with his clients, he said he always made it a point to “straighten this out.”

In any case, Magbanua believes that one’s work and beliefs are inseparable.

“I know fully well I cannot be 100% objective,” he said. "For example, if the officiant spouts out misogyny and homophobia, those words will never make the cut of my edit."

Julius Rafanan of 24 Frames Manila highlighted the importance of maintaining professionalism and keeping up one's end of the deal.

"The videographer’s act is unacceptable. We find it unprofessional (for the videographer) to leave the premises of the shoot just because it doesn’t align with (their) beliefs," Rafanan told L!fe.

For Rafanan, the snake posed a danger to the newlywed couple's family, and the groom just instinctively acted to protect everybody. He felt that the videographer's business was to capture moments because that's what they're hired for in the first place.

Rafanan said as a videographer, he'd draw the line on "extreme" instances, "like shooting for something that is illegal or immoral."

PhilSTAR L!fe reached out to Jan for comment but has yet to receive a reply. (with reports from Brooke Villanueva)