Joel De La Fuente on controversial “Madam Secretary” episode; seeing more Filipinos in Hollywood

PALO ALTO, CA — This was the 2017 episode from the CBS drama “Madam Secretary” — where Fil-Am Joel De La Fuente’s fictional character Philippine President Datu Andrada sexually assaults Tea Leoni’s character — Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord.

The Philippine government was upset with the episode, saying this disrespects the office of the Philippine president — while others say this was an obvious jab at President Rodrigo Duterte.

BA caught up with De La Fuente, who says he knew the episode would receive backlash.

Despite the allegations, De La Fuente defends the show and the writers of the episode.

“We weren’t trying to talk about the Philippine president. We were really generally trying to talk about a kind of behavior that exists in all cultures, with all people in positions of power who are taking advantage of women — but also maybe looking at other presidents, not the president of the Philippines.”

De La Fuente has over 20 years in show business — and says he is happy to see more of his kababayans in Hollywood these days.

“The more people start to be in the media as actors or personalities or stuff like that the more we feel included. When you turn on the TV and you don’t see yourself on a daily basis, there’s this unspoken message you’re not a part of America and that’s just something we need to push beyond.”

De la Fuente says that while he is happy to see more Filipinos getting roles in Hollywood, there could always be more opportunities for other Asian actors.


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