When approached today by reporters at an event in Puerto Rico, WAPA-TV president Joe Ramos addressed the recent controversy surrounding “SuperXclusivo,” his network’s top-rated show, and La Comay, the show’s puppet host played by actor Kobbo Santarrosa. Ramos, who will not comment to this outlet after several interview requests were made through WAPA’s established procedures, told the Puerto Rican press to please give WAPA a little space so that they can fix the show and improve upon it.
The following quotes were first reported in Spanish, and we have provided our own translation for our English-speaking readers, since Ramos and WAPA did not honor our multiple requests for an interview:
What I am asking you, the entire public, and everyone who opposes [the show], is that we apologized, we said that we would fix it, so please give us the chance to do so. Look, and this is true, we all know the power of social media, let us not keep looking for controversy, which is what is happening here.
Ramos also suggested, according to reports, that the boycott is now being seen as a publicity stunt, and that the boycott’s efforts have done more to damage the network’s reputation than the economic impact they have caused. “I have a lot of years doing this. In other words, enough, ok, hello, I got it, let it go. Let focus on doing positive and constructive things.”
Reports are also estimating that WAPA is now losing around $3 million weekly in revenue. In addition, Ramos said that WAPA was not “censoring” the “SuperXclusivo” show by stopping its live format and becoming a pre-recorded show. That move was made to control and monitor the content that the show would be producing.
“It’s not censorship, nor is it what we are going to do. We are going to supervise, that is our mission,” Ramos said in Spanish. (The following image is a screen grab of the video that Primera Hora posted on its story.)
He also added the following:
We recognize and understand that certain things were said and those were some things that I myself didn’t even like. And we have kept squeezing and squeezing, and now we have to squeeze more. The airwaves are ours [WAPA’s], the television screen is ours, and what we can assure you is that from that television screen, we will show what we want to show. Not what the reporters tell us to show, and not the talent will tell us to show. It is up to us who will be responsible for it. If we didn’t do this sufficiently enough in the past, we are going to do it now.
According to reports, Ramos was asked if those comments could be interpreted as censorship, and he said, “You can interpret them as you like.” He then continued to say that the network will have editorial control of content and programming, but he also said that part of La Comay’s style will be controversial.
How are we to avoid offending or saying something that will go against a certain group, that’s impossible. When I tell you people criticize the Catholic Mass [which WAPA broadcasts on Sundays]. Now, there are certain things that the general public will find offensive. That we are going to have to stop, in case you are doubting it.
Finally, Ramos admitted that “SuperXclusivo” has done things he has not liked, but he also said that La Comay has great power and influence on the island. “So how are we going to focus positively on that power? That is what we want to do, focus on that.”
Ramos said that the network will supervise and monitor comments and opinions from the show that are seen as homophonic, racist, hateful, and discriminatory.
Meanwhile, we reached out to InterMedia Partners, the private firm that owns WAPA, for comment. They sent us the following statement:
InterMedia Partners is a private firm with a wide range of media investments. The media companies InterMedia invests in make their own independent programming decisions. We understand that Puerto Rico is experiencing a tragic crime wave, and our hearts go out to all the victims of violence in the country.