Filipina actress Bela Padilla and FHM in the Philippines have apologized for the cover of the magazine following complaints about its controversial cover branded by some readers as racist. FHM has since pulled the March cover, which showed the fair-skinned actress in a pink bikini surrounded by dark-skinned models with the tag line Bela Padilla Stepping Out of the Shadows. (See the old cover here.)

FHM
FHM New Cover Featuring Filipina actress Bela Padilla. The cover was changed after readers' outrage over the first cover, showing the actress surrounded by dark-skinned models with the tag line Bela Padilla Stepping Out of the Shadows. Photo credit: fhm.com.ph

FHM Philippines is the country's best selling men's magazine. The controversial cover was uploaded to the magazine's Facebook page on Saturday, which sparked many complaints.

Readers also took to Twitter to air their concerns over the cover.

I think FHM's latest cover featuring Bela Padilla is racist, wrote Nico Alcedera. And the cover wasn't even artistic. #FHM

'FHM's cover: Bela Padilla stepping out of the shadows would be uncontroversial, if the shadows weren't black models,' Frances Doplon tweeted.

GMA News also reported that writer Katrina Stuart Santiago denounced the controversial cover and said that it was a display of white supremacist ideology at its most vicious because it's shameless. It is a display of whiteness against blackness that is sold to us as fact: the white woman can only emerge as her true self from the shadows created by the black girls.

The cover and the tag line have since been changed and the magazine's publisher has issued an official statement noting,

We took all the points into consideration and have decided to take the side of sensitivity. When FHM hits the stands in March it will have a different cover. We deem this to be the most prudent move in the light of the confusion over the previous cover execution.

We apologize and thank those who have raised their points. We apologize to Bela Padilla for any distress this may have caused her. In our pursuit to come up with edgier covers, we will strive to be more sensitive next time.

GMA News also reported that Padilla, 20, apologized on Twitter, writing FHM and I meant no harm at all.

She added that it had nothing to do with racial discrimination... The concept was stepping out of MY inhibitions, MY fears, MY shadows. Not bashing a certain race.