Seven years after Kobbo Santarrosa’s then top-rated “SuperXClusivo” show was canceled by Puerto Rico’s WAPA-TV due to a boycott caused by the show’s history of racist, homophobic and yellow journalism tactics, new calls to remove a revamped “La Comay” from Mega TV have returned after Santarrosa’s puppet character mocked a prominent Black Puerto Rican woman’s accent during a Friday broadcast of the show.
The latest controversy came after the Comay puppet ridiculed Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, a Black Puerto Rican woman who was the head of Puerto Rico’s Bar Association from 2012-2014. Rivera Lassén is openly lesbian and a 2020 senatorial candidate for the Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana (MVC) party and a party spokesperson.
The video in question has been shared by several social media profiles in Puerto Rico, including human rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano. The clip shows the Comay puppet mocking Rivera Lassén’s accent and for acting like a Black servant to her white MVC counterpart.
¡YA BASTA! Este racismo, misoginia, homofobia y ODIO tiene que acabar. Ya en el pasado sacamos a Kobbo Santarrosa de la TV, nos toca sacarlo para SIEMPRE. #BoicotAKobbo
Hago un llamado para que @BoicotLaComay se active nuevamente. pic.twitter.com/u3jo2EAA2y
— Pedro Julio Serrano (@PedroJulio) June 13, 2020
This is a rough translation of what La Comay character (voiced by Santarrosa) said while sidekick Rocky The Kid laughed, along with other laugh track clips:
La Comay (Santarrosa): Now attorney Ana Rivera Lassén will go to Alexandra Lúgaro and will say, [in a very pronounced Black servant accent that is a combination of gibberish and some slang] ‘My boss lady, boss lady, look. I, you are here, listen, my friend [laughter clips come in] but you know, my friend, my girl, my girl. Go to sleep, my little girl. Go to sleep.’ [As if Lúgaro were a little child and Rivera Lassén was the help].
The segment is being interpreted by many as racist, including Rivera Lassén. It also played into racist stereotypes of Black servants as being uneducated, servile and poor. For non-Puerto Ricans, another way to compare this would be if a TV host in the United States decided to use racist stereotypes of Black servants in the South interacting with their white family.
In addition, the clip reveals a very typical tactic used by Santarrosa in how he frames what his puppet character says. By using the future tense, the puppet can get away with this being another form of “bochinche” (“gossip”) and “parody,” since Santarrosa can claim that such a conversation or behavior never existed because it never happened. It’s just yet another example of a character that has crossed the line so many times, especially when it comes to reporting fake stories and allegations.
In a press release shared on Sunday, Serrano issued a press statement calling for Mega TV to cancel the show.
“We already removed Kobbo from WAPA-TV in 2013. Now it’s time to remove him from Mega TV and from television forever,” Serrano said in Spanish. “Transphobia, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia and whatever of discrimination has no place in our society. That is why we are demanding that Mega TV remove Kobbo from television and cancel ‘La Comay’ for promoting hate.”
“This country will no longer tolerate one more form of abuse,” Serrano added. “That is why we will purse every opportunity to ensure that this individual does not continue trying to divide us with his agendas of hatred and exclusion. Let Kobbo know: we removed you once and we will remove you again, but this time it will be forever.”
The latest example comes in the middle of a global movement to dismantle anti-Blackness that arose from the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police, as well as the lives of countless Black lives. On June 1, Mega TV’s channel in Puerto Rico, owned by Miami-based network SBS, issued a statement about solidarity with the Black community.
— Mega Tv Pr (@MegaTvpr) June 1, 2020
SBS also issued a June 1 statement in English.
A statement from @MegaTVLive owner SBS pic.twitter.com/aFZkJ3Zs4F
— RBR+TVBR (@RBRTVBR) June 1, 2020
Latino Rebels reached out twice to Mega TV on Sunday morning for comment about Santarrosa’s video. It has yet to receive a reply. In addition, as the clip went viral, La Comay’s Twitter profile posted a tweet on Sunday saying that people need to see the entire video in context since the puppet called Rivera Lassén a decent person and was only buckling to pressure from fellow MVC gubernatorial candidate Alexandra Lúgaro, a recent target of La Comay’s. Lúgaro was recently called out on allegations of discrimination against Dominicans, and the Friday clip showed La Comay acting as if Rivera Lassén was a Black servant acquiescing to Lúgaro. The full segment, released Sunday by La Comay, also said that Rivera Lassén was abandoning her Blackness because she has allowed for Lúgaro to be an MVC candidate. The Lúgaro controversy had started when she had made a statement after Floyd’s death where she admitted her career benefited from white privilege, sparking cries from people who don’t think there is racism in Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, the Boicot a La Comay social media profiles have gone active since the Friday clip started making the rounds.
— Boicot La Comay (@BoicotLaComay) June 14, 2020
Me encata el ratio @megatvpr
Demuestren que #BlackLivesMatter botando a Kobbo.
No creo que le va a gustar a auspiciadores e inversionistas estar con gente en el lado equivocado de la historia…
— Boicot La Comay (@BoicotLaComay) June 14, 2020
The Boicot group was credited for the 2013 cancellation of the show by WAPA. On Sunday, an account claiming to be La Comay’s Twitter profile also tweeted out a question, “You want to boycott us?” as what many are seeing as a direct jab at the Boicot group.
Earlier this month, a video clip showing La Comay comparing Black Puerto Ricans to a dead chimpanzee resurfaced. This was when “SuperXClusivo” was still on WAPA-TV and before Santarrosa’s show was canceled in 2013.
So all of you who think that @lacomayoficial is just "innocent" and "joking," this clip (from when the show was top rated and before WAPA cancelled it under pressure from a boycott)?shows Kobbo as La Comay comparing Black Puerto Ricans to a dead chimpanzee. Yes, this happened. https://t.co/f3H4huowAy
— Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77) June 14, 2020
In 2019, a new La Comay show that was pretty similar to the canceled “SuperXClusivo” show launched on Mega TV.
Rivera Lessén’s official Facebook campaign page said on Saturday that she had heard about a video by La Comay that “insults her and uses racist images.”
“I appreciate the support and all the words of solidarity I have received. I plan to share my thoughts tomorrow [Sunday] at 7 p.m. on my official Facebook page,” Rivera Lassén’s page said.
An online petition to cancel the show that went live last week continues to gain thousands of signatures.
UPDATE, June 14: 7:30pm
This is the video of Rivera Lassén’s remarks against La Comay and Santarrosa. In the video, Rivera Lassén said that she would not mention the name of the show or the host, because they would be given him a human voice. She insisted that this segment was an attack on all Black Puerto Ricans and that she doesn’t need a costume to hide behind. Rivera Lassén also talked about how shows like these do not take these issues seriously and are part of why deeper systemic problems like racism have never really been addressed.
“If you are served poison, you will spit out hate,” Rivera Lassén said at one point about how the culture of Puerto Rico has created a “cycle of hate” for generations.
UPDATE, June 16: According to boycott organizers, eight out 12 sponsors have stopped advertising on “La Comay.”
Julio Ricardo Varela is founder and publisher of Latino Rebels, part of Futuro Media. He tweets from @julito77.
Complaints are being filed to the FCC as we speak.
Cancel this Racist POS
Cancel this racist show n fire everyone !!
En nuestro país no hay cabida para racistas, si quieres ser racista eso es su prerrogativa, pero aquí no..que cancelen su show..y que regrese a su rancho en E.U.
Being on television and having the people of Puerto Rico as an audience is a privilege that carries a great responsibility on your part. There is certainly the freedom to express yourself here. In these times of uneasiness, uncertainty, and fear, there is much good you could do with entertainment that inspires peace, quietness and hope. Far from it, you have chosen to use that freedom to make offensive remarks towards our people and promote an environment of discomfort and tension. Please understand, Mr. Santarosa, that your words speak more of you than of the people you refer to. If this whole affair were the result of a preconceived and orchestrated plan, made with the intention of harming others, it would be unworthy and highly blameworthy of you and those who have devised it.
I understand that you owe an apology to our people; citizens who advocate and fight for things to be done in a better way. It seems to me that you also owe an apology to the people and groups whom you have directly offended.
Previously, his behavior resulted in the cancellation of the program in which you appear. You have had another chance and given it very little value. Mr. Santarosa, it is human to err, but only those who recognize and amend their behavior grow and exceed themselves. Don’t waste the opportunity again.
Edric E. Vivoni Farage
In Puerto Rico there is no such thing as white privileged or racism.we are all mixed here so keep that shit in the USA.we say what we want and make fun of anyone.que viva la Comay!!!!!!!!
You all know the La Comay … Santa Rosa is black!!!!
This show is great! He gosips and makes fun of all white, black, brown etc etc.
If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen. You don’t have to tune in to watch. He did elevate the person in question as being an intellectual and going places. Watch the show.
[…] to a series of racist comments by Kobbo Santarrosa’s La Comay puppet character equating a prominent Afro Puerto Rican woman politician to a Black servant, organizers of the group calling on boycotting the show in Puerto Rico said on Tuesday that eight […]
Estan tratando de sacar un programa de chismes que solo hace reir x una hora a la mayoria de P.R. cambie de canal a esa hora x eso seguimos en el hoyo comay somos num.1 que bochinche
If is not one witch hunt is another, I am no longer impressed by the creativity of ” quítate tú para ponerme yo. ” type of strategies used in politics . I truly can’t understand how a puertorican can see another puertorican as a racists , although the word uncle Tom has decades of in our history , still I ask anyone whom consider themselves to be Boricua ” Y Tú Abuelos Donde Estas. ” and have one come back with no indigenous blood running in their veins . Our egos will always be in the way of our growth as a society . De corazón
[…] On Wednesday morning, Latino Rebels received the following press release from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC). It is a statement about the recent news of Puerto Rico’s “La Comay” show and Kobbo Santarrosa. […]
Viva la comay I stand we la comay
Arriba la comay don’t let some people like la comantante chulin y El pedrito Julio y la Alexandra lugarito que es las verdadera racists a boycott la comay comay te apoyamos 100%
[…] the principal of being a racist but scholars like Isar Godreau and others have already underscored the systemic racist rampant within Puerto Rico’s education system. We have to remind ourselves, these supposed individual […]
All lives matter. Not only black, hispanic or white. The first thing we need to do is change the race question out of any documentation. For what I know, we have ALL color, not white or black. I am tan, light tan not white. Besides we all come from 1 couple that the Lord created. People need to stop wasting time n resources on this stupidity. Teach ur kids to love and respect. No matter the lighter color of someones skin or the darker color. NO BLACK OR WHITE. THAT DOESNT EXIST. APRENDAN GENTE. Y PAREN LA ESTUPIDEZ. invest your time in cleaning the world and enjoy the earth.
[…] context of the conversation was Dávila Colón’s defense of the controversy surrounding Kobbo Santorrosa’s La Comay show, who had portrayed Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, a Black Puerto Rican woman politician, as a […]
[…] Friday, June 12, he attacked Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, a prominent lawyer, human rights activists and politician, by mocking her […]
I LOVE LA COMAY YOO AMOOOO LA COMAY SOY TEAM COMAYYYY
I watch that specific program. I did not perceive la comaywcomay mocking her. I understand Mr. Santa Rosa is a black. Did I miss something?
[…] after the show’s controversial white puppet character (voiced by a Black Puerto Rican man) had made racist comments about a Black Puerto Rican woman politician, a spokesperson for the network and parent company […]
Do not believe everything that you read in the social media. I have been reading thoroughly and is discussing to see how a group writes and distorts reality in order to put the blame on someone’s else and ruin with lies reputations. The story started with a comment from Alexandra Lugaro about the “white privileged “ and quoted “privileged that I have).
That was the comment that ignites all this controversy. The rest is history, and you can’t be other that you are. Kobbo Santarrosa is a black man. Here in the states young black man call each other “niggers “ and that is ok. These people blow these issue out of proportion for their own advantage. However the murder treats aren’t a joke, and can return to hunt them.
Yes, we have covered the whole thing and have published about it. And “white privilege” is a concept that many Puerto Ricans are not familiar with but many Puerto Ricans benefit from.
Eso es mentira quieren sacarlo. Por que la comay es el numero uno.yo voy a ti comay Mega TV defiende a a la comay que es lo mejor la envidian .pero no se van a salir con la de ellos. Arriba Comaayyyy.no se deje….❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
En estos tiempos de pandemia, la comay me hace reir y divertirme muchisimo. Que viva la Comay! Pa lante, hay mucha gente amargada que tegiversan las cosas!
[…] June 12, La Comay also attacked Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, a prominent lawyer and politician, by mocking her for “acting like a Black servant to her white […]
[…] The show has drawn criticism before and there are renewed calls for its cancellation. […]
[…] The show has drawn criticism before and there are renewed calls for its cancellation. […]
[…] cancellation, several clients have pulled their advertising from the show since June, when Latino Rebels first reported this story. These incidents come at a time when racial equity is being questioned in the media industry, from […]
[…] again (as if we needed even more examples), Kobbo Santarrosa and his La Comay puppet crossed yet another line that has led to resounding […]
[…] https://www.latinorebels.com//2020/06/14/callstocancelcomay/ […]
[…] against a Puerto Rican candidate’s South Asian roots. This was weeks after Santarrosa made anti-Black comments and mocked an Afro-Latina […]
[…] show has drawn criticism before and there are renewed calls for its cancellation. » Read […]
Every one who wrote negative comments about the show are all hypocrites and low life scum. Sorry you Lemmings followers of the pack find the nearest cliff and jumó off together you will be doing us true Puertorriqueños and the world the best contribution you low life’s can make.
Better yet drop dead.
EN PR TODOS SOMOS NEGROS, DE DONDE SALE TANTA BABA? SOLO TIENEN ENVIDIA HACIA LA COMAY PUES NADIE SUBE EL RATING COMO ELLA.
ELLA ES NUESTRA FISCAL, COMAY, DTB Y TE APOYAMOS DESDE USA