Don’t Mess With Yalitza Aparicio

Feb 17, 2019
1:12 PM

Yalitza Aparicio attends The Hollywood Reporter 2019 Oscar Nominee Party at CUT on February 4, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Has a gaggle of Mexican actresses gone into full public relations planning to control what would be a disaster operation just in case Plan A fails and they are unable to maintain their anonymity? They are surely hoping to minimize the potential damage that their careers could suffer if their individual names are revealed due to the news that a petition was circulated by the group to not consider Yalitza Aparicio for Best Actress of the Ariel Award. That revelation was reported in a tweet by Rossana Barro. Since then, the level of secrecy, protection and cover has grown, as is often the case surrounding the upper echelons of Mexico’s rich and famously privileged.

However, there is another group of actors that was not so fortunate as to safeguard their anonymity when trash-talking Aparicio, and they have been served up hearty portions of crow.

This past week, telenovela actor Sergio Goyri and a group of his Mexican actor friends were out having dinner, richly exposing their blatantly racist sentiments that wealthy, white and privileged circles hold towards Mexico’s indigenous population.

In this case, Goyri was insulting an indígena from Oaxaca who has risen to an Oscar nomination for her incredible interpretation of a domestic worker in the film “Roma.” The video content is brutally dehumanizing. The actor calls Aparicio a pinche india” and says that she should not be nominated for best actress. He also mimics her, stating she is a “yes ma’am,” “yes ma’am” person, and claims that’s all there is to her character.

The video has gotten millions of views, especially from the large audience of viewers in the U.S. and Mexico, including indigenous people who watch telenovelas. Now everyone knows that Goyri has disdain for a sizable demographic of his fan base.

As expected, Goyri got slammed for his comments and was forced to apologize sorrowfully. He is an actor. Sorrow before the camera is his expertise. The apology rings shallow. His career is probably over.  He only apologized because he got caught and because his bread and butter is on the line.

Viewers will note that in the original video, the people around the table are complicit with Goyri. Also, the video’s narrator names all the names of those present. Unlike the fiasco of the online petition to derail Aparicio (where we still do not know who the actresses are, and because of money, fame, smarts and payola we may never know), in this case the proof is at the click of a link.

Are these Mexican actors and entertainment scene socialites going to receive any sympathy? Maybe. But nobody is going to come to their aid publicly.

This is Yalitza Aparicio’s time.

And as for the one who calls her a “pinche india,” Goyri has been nominated in the past for many awards and won several prizes for his acting roles and is well known and regarded in telenovelas. What is his problem letting others come forward in the entertainment business to make their mark?

It sucks to be him right now or any of the other “fresas” who complicity agreed with Goyri in that video.

Because every time someone throws shade Yalitza’s way, her light shines brighter.

“I am proud to be an Oaxacan indigenous woman, and it saddens me that there are people who do not know the correct meaning of words,” Aparicio said, responding to Goyri and the video.

So for all you racists talking trash? There is plenty of crow to go around.

A place setting awaits all of you.


Mexican-born Sara Gurling is a progressive Democrat serving as a 2019-2021 California Democratic Party 80th Assembly District Delegate. She is a trade unionist with more than 20 years representing workers rights and serves as a Labor Representative with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. She was the Director of Organizing with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of San Diego and is known primarily as a humanitarian pro-justice labor organizer, immigrant rights activist and labor studies college teacher. She is also the president emeritus of Border Angels. Her journalistic radio and print work is featured in the United States and Mexico.