A few weeks ago popular singer Claudius Phillips walked into the recording studio of Magic 96.5FM, during the Pica 96.5% show and asked us to become part of his new video clip which he filmed with his cell phone.
We collaborated immediately. Jumped off our chairs, and mouthed the words, “hold up your head, start anew,” which Claudius explained were part of his new single. We repeated the phrase a number of times while he filmed, then we did a few “Fuera,” shoeing some imaginary trouble out. He filmed that too; then we talked briefly on air, about his being away from the limelight and about his comeback with a tremendous single.
Now that I see the video, it is indeed cute, but it is also dishonest and flippant. The singer high jacked surprise performances from dozens of public personalities without really coming clean, and owning his own challenges. He didn’t explain, or give us an overview, he didn’t ask if we wanted to be part of his Redemption Road, he treated the public scandal he was involved in jokingly, and is dismissing the whole shameful episode as envy, gossip, and dirt slinging. As if he was the victim of abuse, and malevolence.
So what’s the story.
Sometimes in 2008, there was a short-lived epidemic here of teenagers filming themselves in compromising situations. They made blue clips and circulated them widely, in the pre WhatsApp era.
At the time the law on the island regarded the taping and the distribution of pornography criminal, but the possession, a lesser offense.
Around 2009, the singer’s home was broken into and a laptop was stolen. Having perused the content of the laptop, the thieves decided to hand the laptop over to an investigative reporter, who was later found dead in mysterious circumstances. The reporter also perused the content of the laptop and decided to hand it over to the Police, citing suspicious activity. Then the Men in Blue took a look as well, in search of criminal materials.
This is what I found on line about the case: Popular Aruban artist Claudius Philips was found guilty of possession of child pornography. According to the court it showed Philips’ obvious interest in child pornography as he “downloaded different movies on different dates.”
In his defense Phillips admitted to having downloaded those teens-filming-themselves clips. And it was not proven that Philips has participated in the filming and/or distribution of child pornography. The verdict? A suspended sentence of four weeks and fifty hours of community service.
Phillips did not appeal. He said sorry, he made a mistake not controlling his curiosity, and that he shouldn’t have saved the emails on his laptop.
The new single is about that, being human, making mistakes, and deserving a new beginning. The last few minutes of the song exorcise complications, leave problems behind, purge negative people, and bid anyone with any questions: Hasta la vista, baby.
Everyone I spoke to said that Child Pornography should not be taken so lightly, and not treated so off-handedly. My legal sources speculate that the fact the case was prosecuted means there is more to the story, but we will never know, because it was handled behind closed doors in order to protect the teens. The verdict was never made public, so we will never see what’s in it. The singer ain’t talking, the reporter is dead.
Which brings me back to what I said, the single is cute, but doesn’t exonerate or fix anything!