Lahbati accuses GMA Artist Center of anomalies
|Sarah Lahbati. Photo taken from Lahbati's Twitter page|
MANILA, Philippines -- Starlet Sarah Lahbati turned again to microblogging site Twitter to defend herself after GMA-7 said she will be investigated for allegedly violating her contract.
The network probe was announced after Lahbati revealed on Twitter alleged anomalies at GMA Artist Center, which handles her career.
On Monday, Lahbati also accused her mother network of making up stories to "sabotage" her, stressing that it is not true that she walked out from taping a series.
"I saw the episode of 'Hot TV' yesterday (Sunday) and I cried while watching how GMA made a one-sided story about what's happening. It was clearly to sabotage me and to make them look clean. I was never asked or contacted by 'Hot TV' about my side of the story," she said on Twitter.
"I never wanted to do this. it's not my character to tweet all of this, but people need to know the truth, pinalaki ako ng parents ko ng mabuti, hindi para apihin ng ganito, and to always stand by what's true," she said.
"So here's the complete truth... ICONS is a talent management company that has nothing to do with GMA Network, it's not a subsidiary company of GMA Artist Center...Attorney Felipe Gozon our big boss, who I only have good words for, wanted to get to the bottom of this mess but didn't have proper evidence. It became almost like a myth in the network.
"One day my mother and I (were) asked by Mrs. Annette Gozon Abrogar and Arsi Baltazar (Artist Center head executives) to have a meeting with them regarding my career. When I arrived at our meeting place in Friday's Tomas Morato, I was shocked because they were convincing me to sign a contract with ICONS talent management that is headed by Mr. Bebong Munoz and Andrew Dee. They promised me projects and endorsements, I don't know why two top executives of the Artist Center wanted me to sign with another management company and get another 15% from my salary.
"After giving us a copy of the contract, my mother and I said that we will think about the offer and we will also discuss it with my dad. My family declined the offer because we didn't know Bebong Munoz and Andrew Dee, plus the deduction of 40 percent was too steep. Mrs. Anette Gozon Abrogar and Arsi Baltazar told me that a lot of artists from GMA Artist Center already signed with the ICONS company and they will be prioritized so I should do the same," Lahbati shared.
This is the reason, the actress said, why she and her family opted to sign up with Royal Artist under talent manager Annabelle Rama, who is also the mother of her boyfriend Richard Gutierrez. Lahbati believes that Rama would be there to protect her.
"Alam ko na pwede mag-pa co-manage with a different company ang artists ng GMA. Because of double bookings and a messed up schedule and other unsolved issues, I needed proper management and protection with my career. That's why I asked for tita Annabelle's help. After a few days I was asked by GMA to void my contract with Tita Annabelle or else they will file a lawsuit against me. So why is it that ICONS management can co-manage artists? Why are they protected by Mrs. Annette Gozon Abrogar and Arsi Baltazar even if they get 40 percent from artists salary?" Lahbati said.
"Yung walk out issue ko and diffrent blind items ginawa lang nila para mawala ang focus sa mas malaking problema, ang under the table deals ng ICONS with GMA Artist Center. I was offered by the daughter of the network owner to join a company that does under the table deals in GMA and subtract 40 percent from my salary. THERE IS UNFAIR TREATMENT WITH NON ICONS ARTIST LIKE ME. If GMA is releasing all this bad publicity about me and saying that I have bad behavior then why don't they release me and void my contract? I ask GMA Artist Center now to void my contract with them because I will not have a peaceful and progressive working environment anymore. They have a messed up system and I hope all the underground deals will be cleaned soon," Lahbati ended.
Last week, Angel Javier, assistant vice president of GMA-7's corporate communications department sent a statement to Philippine Entertainment Portal, saying Lahbati violated her contract.
"Last December, Sarah Lahbati unilaterally decided to take a leave of absence of one (1) month from GMA Network, because she said she wanted to de-stress and unwind. Because her reasons were vague, they were not accepted by management. While we understand that work in our industry can be stressful (as in any business), we believe that this is not only unavoidable in most cases, but also a part of what one does as a professional and/or performing artist. Her leave of absence was also disapproved by management because of her pending obligations (i.e. Party Pilipinas, on-going promos and other endorsement commitments). However, on the evening of Jan. 2, she tweeted that she will be going to Switzerland to study, despite the disapproval given to her last December on taking a leave. This is in violation of her contract, because she has to perform and appear in programs and events assigned to her, and make herself available to faithfully and promptly fulfill all engagements contracted for her by GMA. At the same time, she has yet to address the issue of her walking out during taping, which caused the production team to pack-up, and incur an additional cost of 500k. She is therefore, currently under investigation and the network is still studying on what actions to take," the statement read.