Puerto Rican broadcaster WAPA TV will prerecord "SuperExclusivo" after controversial puppet La Comay offended people with comments over a murder victim, sparking a boycott.
“It’s no longer going to be a live show,” José Ramos, President of WAPA Television told Alicia Menendez on HuffPost Live Thursday. "It’s going to be taped at least one to two hours in advance. So we’ll have the opportunity to review it and make sure we can reduce the amount of material that could be sensitive to some parties.”
The decision to pre-record one of island’s most controversial live shows highlighted the influence of a boycott movement targeting WAPA TV that has resulted in high-profile companies including Wal-Mart pulling their ads from "SuperExclusivo".
The puppet, one of Puerto Rico’s most popular news commentators, has drawn fire for years over statements flavored with homophobic and racist tones that many find malicious. But La Comay drew renewed criticism after implying in a broadcast that publicist José Enrique Gómez Saladín -- whose brutal murder has sparked a social movement against violence in Puerto Rico -- was responsible for his own death because he visited an area known for prostitution.
Managed by Antulio ‘Kobbo’ Santarrosa, the controversial character is the main attraction of Spanish-speaking networks WAPA TV and WAPA America’s “Super Exclusivo.”
“La Comay has a feeling of being a people’s court,” Associated Editor of HuffPost Latino Voices and Voces Zuania Capó said in the HuffPost Live segment. “It’s a place where social and political issues are being discussed, are being judged.”
The way in which the company handled the episode has also sparked controvesy. A reader who wrote to the broadcaster criticizing the program received an email from the company saying “anyone who criticizes the program is being influenced by gays… We don’t know whether you are gay or not but you give us the impression you are.”
Ramos acknowledged the email and indicated his disapproval to the sender, but would not definitively say whether that person had been punished or dismissed.
Despite the hoopla surrounding the puppet, Ramos stuck by the show, while also suggesting it could be improved.
“We’re not saying La Comay is perfect,” Ramos said. “I think there are things that we can do with the show that can improve it and make it very much positive. It has a huge audience. Let’s make this positive.”