Juan Miguel Severo: ‘Artists should not be exploited’

It all started when a mall offered him a meal in exchange for his performance...
PHOTO: Instagram/juanmiguelsevero

Editors’ Note: The original headline, “Juan Miguel Severo Has Apologized To The Mall Which Offered A Free Meal In Exchange For His Performance“ has been revised to clarify that Juan Miguel Severo apologized for the way he snapped at the event organizer, not for his stand that all artists should be properly compensated for their work. 

Spoken word artist and actor Juan Miguel Severo has apologized to the mall for the way he snapped back at them earlier for offering free food in exchange for his performance.

ICYMI, Juan Miguel had a series of tweets on August 2, Friday, expressing his annoyance with the establishment, which he did not name.

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"A mall invites me to perform. For a free meal. And to 'further promote' my craft. I know I’m poor but bitch???" 

He even shared a screenshot of the message he received and his response.

"Fellow spoken word artists: If you receive the same message, do everyone else a favor and say no."

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He was frustrated with how the mall could not compensate him and other artists well for their craft.

"Let me QRT you because I know a lot of people have the same mindset. My talent is free. My time is not. Yes, I do things for free. A benefit? A rally? A fundraiser? Game. But a mall???? Ate. A mall. Artists should value their craft enough to say no and not be sorry."

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He even pointed out how his travel expenses would be even more expensive than what the meal might cost, making a joke about food from a regular eatery.

"Pamasahe ko ate, paano?"

He shared another screenshot of his remark to the event organizer to just cancel it if they're not willing to pay artists.

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On August 4, Juan Miguel shared a lengthy message he sent to the mall's event organizer.

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He said sorry for the way he snapped at them, not realizing he was "shooting the messenger." He also acknowledged not giving them a chance to negotiate their terms.

He still stood firm though about how important it is that "artists should not be taken advantage, exploited, and given less than they're due, especially by big companies and corporations."

"When you invite artists, do so without the assumption that this set up (food is guaranteed but pay only if the artist asks) is acceptable; it is not."

It looks like the mall asked Juan Miguel how he would like to go about things. He declined their invitation even for future events but made a plea that fellow artists still be given the opportunity to perform at their mall, provided they are compensated sufficiently.

"I know that you invited other members of our small, tightly-knit community as well and I would love it if they are given the chance to promote the art form and the languages we so love, while also earning from it."

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Juan Miguel is currently working on a script with veteran writer Bibeth Orteza for a Marvin Agustin-Jolina Magdangal reunion movie.

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