Looks like Puerto Rico is waking up after rallying behind a social media campaign against WAPA's "SuperXClusivo" show, hosted by puppet called La Comay (portrayed by actor Kobo Santarrosa). The incredibly popular show (seen both in Puerto Rico and in the US through WAPA América) sucks. It is a bastion of all that is bad about mass entertainment—the yellow journalism, the unethical investigative tactics, the flat-out misreporting, the playing to the lowest common denominator. And now it has begun to feel the heat after a Facebook page called Boicot a la Comay has gotten over 17,000 fans so far (and it keeps growing). The #BoicotLaComay hashtag is also beginning to show up on Twitter.
According to reports from Puerto Rico, Santarrosa and his puppet persona are getting slammed for his comments regarding the killing of publicist José Enrique Gómez, whose murder has sparked an emotional social media movement against Puerto Rico's tragic escalation in crime. ABC News presents a very good summary of the background. (This is just a few weeks after Puerto Rican boxing legend Hector "Macho" Camacho was killed in Puerto Rico by gunshots.) In the following clip below, La Comay does her classic barrage of innuendos, suggesting that Gómez was looking for female or male prostitutes before he was robbed and killed. The puppet also suggests that Gómez was looking for some gay sex. La Comay, with her hints and words, swore that Gómez was doing something unsavory and as the puppet says, the FBI has this information.
The puppet spends minutes just talking and tossing off innuendos and gossip as it if were real news. It is sad, it is divisive, and it is utterly irresponsible. Because that is the problem with SuperXClusivo: it pretends to be a "hard-hitting" news show and offers opinions without real journalism. It raises the sensational doubts, and then an unsuspecting public believes it is all true. It is unethical, it is an extreme case of victim-blaming, and it is hateful. Add a little homophobia, and you have a #1 show in Puerto Rico. Basta ya. La Comay's divisiveness has no place any more in the dialogue. By the way, El Nuevo Día offered the first facts and details about the crime today. Is it a sordid tale? Yes. Does it corroborate what La Comay said word-for-word? No. But does that matter in the world of La Comay? Of course not.
Enter #BoicotLaComay. The social media movement was formed in the last few days and already the show's sponsors are pulling out. Already out are Triple S, Welch's. and Cold Stone Creamery. Boicot's Facebook page just added a status update saying that AT&T is likely pulling out as well. Also, mobile company Claro posted on Facebook this afternoon and pulled out as a sponsor. This is moving fast.
The reaction has been so overwhelming that the head of WAPA (and WAPA América) had to issue a statement, calling the boycott reaction "emotional." Here is a part of the statement (Can you see the typical public-relations buzz words? See if you can spot them):
“We regret that information aired on our programming was taken out of context or misinterpreted. Our intention is not nor will ever be to offend our viewers,” WAPA chief José Ramos said. “There is no justification for committing a crime of any sort and the people who do so should be punished. We unite in solidarity with the family of José Enrique and all the victims of violent crime in Puerto Rico.”
Ah yes, the old "taken out of context" defense. WAPA thinks it will survive this and so does La Comay. For some reason, I doubt that. I really doubt it now.
Here is to a new Puerto Rico: one without bochinche puppets that do little to make the island a better place. The time to stop the sensationalism is now. I truly hope that this outpouring against La Comay will change the dialogue in Puerto Rico. If Puerto Ricans can finally rally against this awful example of a television show, we can pretty much achieve anything. Less Comay and divisiveness, and more unity and common purpose.
Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77 on Twitter) founded LatinoRebels.com (part of Latino Rebels, LLC) in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He will pen a weekly column on LR each week. Recently, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS' Face the Nation, NPR, and The New York Times.