Puerto Rican TV show faces scrutiny amid outcry
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A TV station in Puerto Rico that broadcasts a popular news and gossip show featuring a puppet has announced that the program will now be prerecorded.
Joe Ramos, president of WAPA TV, told reporters late Thursday that the SuperXclusivo show will be taped two hours before it is broadcast. The announcement follows a recent outcry over comments that the controversial puppet, known as La Comay, made about a man who was brutally killed.
More than 73,800 people have joined an online Facebook page demanding that the show be taken off the air. The page was created on Dec. 4, the same day that La Comay commented on the Nov. 30 killing of publicist Jose Enrique Gomez Saladin. Police say the publicist was carjacked, forced to take out money from an ATM and then set on fire and beaten to death.
Police said the carjacking occurred in the northern town of Caguas, on a street known for its drugs and prostitutes. La Comay, played by comedian Antulio "Kobbo" Santarrosa, questioned what Gomez was doing on that street and whether he "was asking for this" by being there.
A swift outcry followed, and several companies withdrew their sponsorship of the program, which has previously drawn the ire of many for its sensationalist style and derogatory comments about women and gays.
On Friday, several community leaders rejected Ramos' announcement, saying it wasn't enough and that they didn't believe it would happen.
"They've made similar proposals in the past, and after a couple of weeks, nothing changed," said Pedro Julio Serrano, spokesman for the U.S.-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "We'll continue fighting until SuperXclusivo is canceled."