New York State Assemblyman José Rivera Calls @ElDiarioNy “The Champion of Mediocrity and of the Cowards, Too”

Tonight, New York State Assemblyman José Rivera issued the following statement about the latest on the controversy between ABC and the Puerto Rican Community:

 

EL DIARIO–LA PRENSA

THE CHAMPION OF MEDIOCRITY AND OF THE COWARDS, TOO

 

The television network ABC delivers a racial insult in its new primetime show, “Work It”, where it describes Puerto Ricans as “good drug dealers.” Newspapers and blogs all over the nation, including the nation of Puerto Rico, have strongly criticized ABC for perpetuating such a blatant and offensive racial stereotype.

However, something interesting has happened that has everybody talking loudly while whispering. Guess what? El Diario newspaper, the largest Latino newspaper with a Puerto Rican publisher and editor, has not said much about it.

So, people keep whispering that if the beloved former editor Manuel de Dios who died decades ago knew of the silence of the newspaper on this issue, he would be turning on his grave while stretching his arms from his tomb toward the headquarters of El Diario, wandering office after office seeking the neck of the of those responsible for such silence.

Years ago, when Oliver Stone’s movie “Wall Street” compared Puerto Ricans to cockroaches, El Diario ran a cover the story in defense of the Puerto Rican community. Senator Olga Mendez who led the fight was quoted with relevance. When the “Seinfeld” show stomped on the Puerto Rican flag, the issue was covered by El Diario again with urgency and relevance.

So, we wonder, why not now? Why the silence? Are they afraid of something? Or have they simply become negligent and complacent? Or, do they have a conflict of interest?

Let’s start with the fear factor. Obviously, they are afraid of something. Because there is no way that they are going to ignore an issue that is definitely newsworthy.

This ABC controversy is definitely newsworthy but also important for the largest Latino nationality in New York City — Puerto Ricans. As a matter of fact the non-Latino press has given more coverage to this story than El Diario. The first newspaper to react against this attack on Puerto Ricans was the main Newspaper in Pittsburgh. Thank you, again, Roberto Clemente, for raising racial consciousness there. But, where is El Diario?

El Diario’s quality of reporting has declined gradually since my good friend Gerson Borrero, resigned as editor. When he was challenged to decide between his journalistic principles and non-journalistic interest, he did the principled thing and quit as editor. But that is another story.

Second: Are they negligent? Well… it is obvious that during the last few years the quality of the newspaper has been in steady decline. Just ask around. I just asked a friend of mine about this issue, and she said “I can’t tell you since I stopped reading El Diario, years ago when it went rotten.

To illustrate this point, last year, El Diario had as the main story on the front page of the newspaper the topic of whether the size of the penis was important to satisfy a woman. I thought that I was reading “Cosmopolitan”. This happened while the main news nationwide was budget fight the Congress and the white house that was relegated to a brief mention on the inside pages. Need I say more?

Is there a conflict of interest? If there is, this would explain the fear. It is rumored that people within Impremedia, the owners of El Diario, sit on the board of Disney, which owns ABC.

If this is true, the management of El Diario has disposed of all of its journalistic integrity into the toilet of oblivion, and, with it, the respect and decades of struggle that many such as Juan Manuel de Dios gave to El Diario throughout their careers. Whether these rumors are true or not, there is something crystal clear –El Diario-La Prensa is no longer the champion of Hispanics. It has become the Champion of Mediocrity and of the Cowards too.

My challenge to El Diario is to write an editorial condemning ABC and to issue a call – like it used to do in the past – to all New Yorkers to demonstrate against ABC at its headquarters located at 66th Street and Columbus Avenue this coming Thursday at 5:30 PM.

TODAY: Puerto Rican Alliance for Awareness Calls for Videos from Boricuas Saying “I Don’t Sell Drugs”

The recent controversy surrounding ABC's 'Work It" sitcom has created a social media firestorm and tomorrow, Sunday January 8, in Chicago, a film crew is inviting all people of Puerto Rico to educate and let people know that they don't sell drugs. Here are the details from Puerto Rican actor Darlene Vazquetelles, and director Carlos Jiménez, who recently formed the nonprofit Puerto Rican Alliance for Awareness (PRAA):

 

Right now I am in Chicago filming a movie. The director of the movie is also Puerto Rican and after discussing what happened [this week on ABC] we decided to do something about it.

This weekend we have off from filming so we have decided to do a mini-documentary in protest of what happened. The way we are doing it is by putting every Puerto Rican we know and come across here in Chicago in front of the camera stating their names, occupation and stating that they do not sell drugs.

This will be airing on You Tube. We already have the support of the Puerto Rican Parade Committee of Chicago. We are also receiving videos from all over the USA and Puerto Rico through email which will be included in the video.

Name

Occupation

and the tag line at the end "I am Puerto Rican and I DO NOT sell drugs"

TODAY SUNDAY JANUARY 8, 4pm CST, we will be recording people in the Puerto Rican Parade Committee Headquarters in ChicagoCasa Puertorriqueña 1237 N. California Ave. Chicago, IL 60622.

For those who cannot be there, we are asking them to send us videos to [email protected]. (IMPORTANT: For the people that will be sending videos, please put camera in horizontal position and send by tomorrow Sunday at 11 pm Central Time with no background sounds like tvs or people talking.)

We are asking them to do it ASAP as we will be editing all day on Monday.

We already have press interested and covering the event.

New York State Assemblyman José Rivera on ABC Puerto Rican Controversy: “Enough!”

The following statement, released today by New York State Assemblyman José Rivera, addresses the controversy surroudning ABC's January 3 broadcast of the network's new sitcom, "Work It," which contained a joke about Puerto Ricans as drug dealers that has caused a grassroots movement by New York's Puerto Rican community asking that ABC apologize for airing the episode

Enough! The Puerto Rican community once again became victims of racist abuse by the American media. Last Tuesday, January 3, ABC transmitted a new show called “Work It” in which a Puerto Rican character states “I am Puerto Rican – I’d be great at selling drugs.”


This is not the first time that the American media stereotypes and racially discriminates against Puerto Ricans. However, our community has always fought back, winning important battles against billion dollar media conglomerates. Oliver Stone’s 1980 film, Wall Street, originally had a scene in which Puerto Ricans are compared to cockroaches. In the 1990s, an episode of Seinfeld showed the character of Kramer stomping on the Puerto Rican flag during the Puerto Rican Day Parade. In both occasions, Puerto Ricans protested, and both Seinfeld and Stone apologized. Stone went on to eliminate the offensive remarks from the video and DVDs of the movie. This type of discrimination is not unique to these two examples and goes back to West Side Story and beyond.


The fact that in the 21st Century we still have to change the channel in order to prevent our children from hearing comments on TV and film that attack their humanity and self esteem is unacceptable. We should not live in fear of watching TV or going to the movies because we do not know when the next insult is coming. We demand that ABC apologize to the Puerto Rican community at the beginning of the next episode of “Work It” and that the President of ABC meet with Puerto Rican community leaders to create a plan in which, instead of discriminating against the Puerto Rican community, the network promotes the rich tradition and contributions of Puerto Ricans and Latinos in general. 

Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pierluisi Calls Nolasco’s Joke “Offensive” and “Regrettable”

Today, during a Three Kings Day celebration in Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, the island's Resident Commissioner and a non-voting member of the US House of Representatives, specifically called out Puerto Rican actor Amaury Nolasco for his portrayal of Angel on the January 3 airing of ABC's "Work It" premiere.

Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi

Pierlusi's comments were published in Spanish on ElNuevoDia.com, the island's largest newspaper. He called Angel's joke as "offensive" and "regrettable." Here is the video:

 

This is an English translation of part of what END published today:

"That should disturb all Puerto Ricans, wherever they are, because you should not stereotype, do not generalize. There's a drug problem here as there is in other parts of the world, including within the United States," Pierluisi said.

"It was unfortunate. I hope that the show does not get repeated, that the program does not get broadcast again. It hurt, as [Nolasco] must have hurt all Puerto Ricans, who think that all Puerto Ricans sell drugs," Pierluisi continued.

Pierluisi also stated that for every Puerto Rican who fall into the trap of drugs, thousands of Puerto Ricans contribute to the quality of life of the island and the United States.

He noted that although he has not sent a letter to ABC, which broadcasts the program, to demand an apology, Pierluisi does support the statements of Puerto Rican Congressmen from New York, Jose Serrano and Nydia Velazquez, who already asked for an apology from ABC.

"I will support that and I will make public statements like I'm doing now," Pierluisi said.

The ABC fiasco has caused a social media frenzy.

 

ABC’s Puerto Rican Drug Dealer “Joke” Fiasco Spreads Through Social Media and Community

What was just five seconds of air time on a major network has turned into a social media campaign within 48 hours among the Puerto Rican social network. Just days after the ABC sitcom "Work It" premiered, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the Latino blogosphere have been buzzing about a toss-away joke that equates Puerto Ricans to drug dealers.

In case you missed it, this clip from "Work It" (a lame, unfunny Bosom Buddies rip-off that has already been panned by critics) will give you some context.

We have already shared our initial reactions to the joke, which was delivered by the character of Angel, portrayed by Puerto Rican actor Amaury Nolasco. Like we said last night, we are giving the show the benefit of the doubt, since we think that what might have been a sarcastic joke in written form became a lame and offensive joke when it was recorded.

Nonetheless, a grassroots movement out of New York City was immediately formed through social media and a small group of protesters stood in front of ABC's offices in New York City, demanding that ABC apologize. According to Julio Pabón, one of the campaign's organizers, the local New York affiliate WABC-TV has already apologized, but nothing has come out from the national network.

"We want apology from the network, who are the ones responsible for the airing of the show," Pabón said. "We have not heard from them yet."

Pabón will be appearing tomorrow morning with Rhina Valentín at 10 am on Bronx cable to discuss next steps, but he did tell us tonight that the group will be meeting with other community leaders to promote a formal response from elected officials. The group is also planning to demonstrate again next Thursday night, January 12, in front of ABC's offices. To watch the show online, you can click here: BronxNet Streaming (Select Channel 67/33 on home page.)

Also today, El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico's largest newspaper covered the story on END.com and reported that US Rep. José Serrano and Rep. Nydia Velázquez are demanding an apology from ABC. 

"This is unacceptable," Velázquez wrote in a statement. "ABC owes an apology."

The END.com article had received over 1,000 comments today before the newspaper closed commenting on their story.