Granted, when we first posted our initial piece about the now infamous Puerto Rican Drug Dealer Joke from the January 3 ABC premiere of "Work It," we suggested that the original joke must have been written in a sarcastic tone and that when the following scene was recorded, the sarcasm of the joke's original intent had changed.
We suggested that the recent social media firestorm by Puerto Ricans in both the United States and Puerto Rico had very little to do with the Puerto Rican actor who played the role of Angel, Amaury Nolasco. However, in the past few days, Nolasco has now been brought into the controversy and even though he was tweeting about the premiere of the show the night of January 3, Nolasco has gone into social media silence ever since the show was broadcast.
We can only assume that Nolasco has been quiet because he is being advised by his people that the best thing to do in all this is to not say anything, especially since the criticism he has received—from the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to the Puerto Rican blogosphere to comments from profiles on Facebook, Twitter and this page—has been tough. The vast majority of fans and people who have discussed this topic are seriously questioning why Nolasco chose to say that line instead of telling his director that he would like to take a pass on it. Who know what is going through his mind, since outlets that have tried to get a comment from Nolasco are only getting a "no comment" from his publicist.
Amaury, if we can offer you some free advice, it is probably wise to speak out now and explain yourself. In the end, what are you losing by apologizing? One reader on our site suggested that "Puerto Ricans are a forgiving people" and an apology would go on a long way. Instead, by not saying anything, Nolasco has lost control of the story. A social media blitz is as devastating as any bad reviews, and "Work It" has gotten its sizeable share of such negativity. It is perplexing to us that Amaury won't even respond to all this. It is a mistake, and we hope he reconsiders, because if there is anything that is true about social media, no one person or profile or brand is better than any other person, profile or brand. Celebrity is no longer elevated. Amaury is now one of us and we want to know.
So, maybe Nolasco's publicist is reading this or maybe not. We don't know. Yet we will present a couple of things Nolasco can do right now to diffuse the controversy and regain some credibility again:
- Ask that ABC apologize: We understand that Nolasco is under contract and is technically working for ABC right now. But just like any employee who might notice something wrong in the workplace, Nolasco can do the same thing.
- Tweet out why you have been silent: Joke about it. Say something clever. Tweet out an "I'm sorry." Be sincere. Respond to the tweets people have sent you. Be human. Be cool. Take your lumps and move on.
- Make a video for tomorrow's filming in Chicago: How powerful would that be?
- Thank your fans for their comments and say that you made a mistake and that you learned from it.
The problem with publicists and public relations firms is that they still think that we live in a traditional media world, that networks control and shape. That is no longer the case, especially when Nolasco lost the opportunity to actually control the message from the very beginning. How cool would it have been if Nolasco tweeted out "Why did my character say that line? What was Angel thinking?" just seconds after the scene was aired? This whole issue would have disappeared.
But Nolasco is still quiet, and if he continues to do so, he will not improve his situation.