More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Open Letter: National Leaders Call on Puerto Rico Media to Reject Scapegoating
A young man is kidnapped, taken to an ATM, robbed, then beaten to death. Adding to this already awful situation, TV host, Antulio “Kobbo” Santarrosa and the life-sized puppet he voices, La Comay, re-victimized publicist José Enrique Gómez Saladín by suggesting that if he allegedly was in an area known for “prostitution and homosexuality,” as his killers claim, he may have brought the violence on himself.
This was the last straw for many Puerto Ricans, who have had to live with escalating violence for years. Blaming victims is wrong, and most people know that. For media personalities like Santarrosa and co-host Héctor Travieso to use their platform and the public airwaves to inflame prejudices is unconscionable.
The pair, who appear on SuperXclusivo on WAPA TV (which airs in the U.S. on WAPA América) have been in trouble many times for using anti-LGBT, racist, xenophobic and anti-female language. In good faith, local groups, such as Puerto Rico Para Tod@s and national groups, such as GLAAD and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, have worked to help them understand their power to inflame prejudice. Enough is enough.
The death of Saladín, who leaves behind a wife, a heartbroken family and many friends, helped spark a grassroots social media campaign calling for an end to SuperXclusivo’s use of callous and irresponsible comments to attract ratings.
The group Boicot a La Comay (Boycott La Comay) has, to date, 70,000 supporters on Facebook and over 4,000 on Twitter. More than 30 of the show’s advertisers have dropped their support, including Coca-Cola, Ford, Chevrolet, WalMart, AT&T, Goodyear, and SC Johnson.
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez and New York Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito have joined celebrities like singers Ricky Martin, Rene Pérez of Calle 13 and Chayanne, who stand in solidarity with their fellow Puerto Ricans in saying Todos Somos José Enrique—“We’re all José Enrique.”
A victim’s orientation, straight or gay, or their gender identity should never be used by media to score ratings, much less to blame the victim for the circumstances surrounding the murder.
We ask you to join us as we call on WAPA TV and WAPA America to stop broadcasting programming that fuels intolerance and violence. We also ask you to join us as we call on sponsors to stop supporting hate speech that incites violence. We also call on the community to stop watching this show that promotes intolerance.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
The National Puerto Rican Coalition
Puerto Rico Para Tod@s
Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
State Senator Iris Martínez (D-IL)
State Representative Toni Berríos (D-IL)
New York City Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito
Iris Martínez, Democratic National Committee Hispanic Chair
The Anti-Violence Project (AVP)
Center For Black Equity
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
Familia es Familia
Latino Commission on AIDS
Latino Equality Alliance
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc. (NACOPRW)
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators
National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP)
National Latin@ LGBT Human Rights Organization
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH)
National Puerto Rican Coalition Inc. (NPRC)