Six New York City officials, including all four current openly gay city councilmembers, sent a letter (PDF) to the Federal Communications Commission asking for an investigation of recent, homophobic language on the Puerto Rican television show Super Xclusivo broadcast on WAPA América. The crude comments focused on pop star Ricky Martin's coming out, the gay community and Puerto Rican LGBT activist and NGLTF spokesman Pedro Julio Serrano.
Andrés Duque has been monitoring Puerto Rican media and reports:
Immediately after ... Martin came out, Héctor
Travieso, the host of the show who uses a puppet as a bantering
partner, repeatedly used the word "pato" (fag) to refer to the
singer. When viewers, including Puerto Rican LGBT rights activist Pedro
Julio Serrano, complained, he only upped the ante and defended his
usage of the word arguing that there was nothing bad in calling someone a
The furor elicited by his comments, and by references he later made against Serrano's HIV status and sexuality has kept the confrontation between Travieso and Serrano in the island newspapers' front pages. Travieso, who also was the host of a radio show, announced on Thursday that he would retire from that spot. He also extended a semi-apology to Serrano and the LGBT community in an interview that ran yesterday on Primera Hora. No, he did not apologize for using the word "pato". He only apologized for referring to the LGBT community as "gentuza", which could be translated as "riffraff", "trashy people" or 'worthless people." "I accept his apologies, but those apologies have to come accompanied by a change in his behavior," said Serrano to the paper, "He has to stop the homophobic conduct and stop making fun of the gay community."
The letter is signed by Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Council members Danny Dromm, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Rosie Mendez, and Jimmy Van Bramer. Quinn, Dromm, Mendez, and Van Bramer are openly gay.
The letter (PDF) to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski reads in part: "While we respect freedom of speech, using anti-gay language in this context crosses the line and puts the public welfare at risk. New York and Puerto Rico have both been affected by a number of high-profile hate crimes in recent months. It is imperative to stand up against language that can contribute to bigotry." Read the full letter HERE.
That passage undoubtedly refers to last November'sgruesome murder and dismemberment of 19-year-old Jorge Steven López Mercado. You may recall that in January, Serrano and the four openly gay NYC councilmembers traveled to Puerto Rico to meet with the López family, as well as Puerto Rican legislators, clergy and LGBT activists.
GLAAD is also calling on the FCC to investigate Super Xclusivo.