In response to acting coach Lesly Kahn’s advice to a young actress to be more “Latin” and change her name to “Rosa Ramirez,” Latino Rebels received the following statement from Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition:
“You should be deeply ashamed of yourself for the outrageous, insensitive comments you made to a student in one of your classes, especially because you say you are Jewish. The Jewish community, more than any other, knows, and has experienced extreme prejudice, racism, and discrimination over the centuries. Yet here you are, flippantly encouraging a Jewish student in front of her peers to change her name to Rosa Ramirez so that she can get some of the few jobs that are calling for a Latina actress. If that weren’t enough, you go on and on callously calling it an interesting and entertaining experiment. Shame on you. Latinos are severely underrepresented in the film and television industry, and through your words you are contributing to even less representation. Justice would be served if all the Latino students that have attended your classes get their money back because they certainly are not getting its worth from you.”
The NHMC statement also added this:
Although Ms. Kahn has apologized for her actions, NHMC urges she meet with Latino leadership to discuss how she can respectfully address the issue of diversity in the entertainment industry in the future. Alex Nogales has called Ms. Kahn to discuss the matter and she has agreed to return his call.