The resident shareholder of the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Cebu has resigned after the backlash he received over his clapback at a mother who visited the tourist destination with a special needs child.
Manny Gonzales announced in a statement Tuesday (December 15) his resignation from the resort effective immediately.
“To protect our staff from further indignities, and with sincere apologies for my error of judgment which led to so much trouble to many innocent people, I have decided to resign from the position of Resident Shareholder,” he said.
“Likewise, the management of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is assessing current protocols in place and has pledged to initiate more proactive efforts and implement necessary changes within the week,” he added.
Gonzales’ resignation comes a week after Plantation Bay came under fire over his lengthy reply to a comment posted by a guest known online as Mai Pages on the website Trip Advisor.
Mai said an employee of the resort told her six-year-old son, who has autism, to keep quiet because he was squealing in delight as he swam in one of the pools.
Gonzales defended the resort employee’s action, saying the guest should have handled her child properly. He also accused Mai of “deliberately lying” since “uncontrolled shouting is not a symptom of autism.”
“Google ‘Autism’ and verify this for yourself,” read Gonzales’ reply. “Therefore this parent is most likely deliberately lying, or has been given an incorrect diagnosis of autism, when what the child more likely has is a lack of discipline due to simple parental neglect.”
Gonzales’ scathing reply was subsequently deleted, but not before netizens took screenshots. His narrow-minded view of autism has provoked backlash from celebrities, including Karen Davila and beauty queen Vicki Rushton. There were also calls online to boycott the resort because it supposedly wasn’t kid-friendly.
The Department of Tourism and Department of Justice have launched separate investigations into the incident to determine if Plantation Bay discriminated against the child with autism.