Mike de Leon calls ‘Citizen Jake’ star Atom Araullo hypocritical, narcissistic

MANILA, Philippines – Director Mike de Leon has responded to journalist Atom Araullo’s statement on his experience working with him on Citizen Jake, calling his lead actor a hypocrite and a narcissist.

De Leon first spoke up about Araullo on May 21, a few days before Citizen Jake was shown commercially. On the movie’s official Facebook page, De Leon implied a rift between himself and the journalist. (READ: 'Citizen Jake' director Mike de Leon on star Atom Araullo: 'He disappointed me')

Araullo responded on May 30, explaining his side of things: how De Leon approached him in 2016 without a script or a clear story, De Leon’s “unprovoked, irrational, almost random tantrums” throughout the making of the film, and that the director is a “deeply troubled person.” (READ: Atom Araullo breaks silence after 'Citizen Jake' director's tirades)

Not long after, De Leon spoke up on Citizen Jake’s Facebook page about his experiences on the set and his working relationship with Araullo.

De Leon recounted that he felt disrespected when Araullo ignored his direction while they were filming, and that their exchanges about the scene pushed him to tell Araullo that the latter was arrogant and that it was “about time” that somebody said it.

De Leon also told Araullo that he lacked empathy as a journalist and called him a hypocrite, bringing up Araullo’s McDonald’s commercial featuring Marawi evacuees. 

“Isn't journalism about the story, not the journalist? But in your case, nobody is more important to Atom Araullo than Atom Araullo,” said De Leon in the post. “And you say you cringe at being called a celebrity, a star. How hypocritical. Don't bother to cringe anymore because you revel in it.”

He added: “I may have my demons to deal with, but you have yours too, my pompous friend. So accept that you are a celebrity and don't use the noble profession of journalism to hide your inadequacies as a human being.”

In closing, the director said: “Having admitted that I'm a deeply troubled person, I will make no excuses for it – not even the usual ‘artists are temperamental and accountable to no one but their art.’ But please be kind to your soul and accept the reality – stop pretending to want to embrace the universe, when all the time you only want to embrace yourself. This is called narcissism.”


In an “enhanced version” of his post, De Leon added that he had asked Araullo to post a statement about the movie and his role as its co-writer on the Citizen Jake Facebook page. In response, Araullo told him that he wasn’t used to making statements unless he was being interviewed.

“And so I cut it short by saying, ‘Fine. That’s it, thanks anyway,’” wrote De Leon. “That was the last straw. You said you had to endure a lot throughout the making of the film. Well, guess what, I had to do that, too. I had to endure your superciliousness, your overweening ego, your disparaging remarks about movie people and actors, even your lack of manners.”

Citizen Jake is De Leon’s first movie in almost 20 years. It was released in theaters on May 23.

Araullo was a field reporter for ABS-CBN for nearly a decade before moving to rival GMA 7, where he now primarily does long-form reports and documentaries. Citizen Jake is the first film he has acted in. He also co-wrote it with De Leon and Noel Pascual. – Rappler.com