Six years after activists in Puerto Rico got popular puppet show ‘La Comay’ off-air, the show was brought back by Mega TV. Recent hateful comments attacking a renowned Black lawyer on the island sparked a new boycott.
Kobbo Santarrosa, hiding behind a puppet he calls “La Comay”, has been espousing hateful comments for many years and it needs to stop.
In January 2013, he was fired from his job on Super Xclusivo which aired in WAPA TV —the #1 TV show in Puerto Rico— after a boycott calling for his ouster was successful.
“Boicot a La Comay” started after Santarrosa made homophobic comments surrounding the vile murder of a businessman whom he falsely alleged José Enrique Gómez Saladín was killed because he was soliciting prostitution.
In January 2019, six years after his ouster from television, Santarrosa came back on another station — Mega TV — with a new show called “La Comay.” It was not long before he was at it again. He started making misogynist comments against public figures, racist comments against politicians, and veiled shots of homophobia against activists and artists.
On Friday, June 12, he attacked Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, a prominent lawyer, human rights activists and politician, by mocking her accent.
Santarrosa, through the Comay puppet, mocked Rivera Lassén for acting like a Black servant to her white counterpart at her political party.
Rivera Lassén is widely respected as she was the first Black and LGBTQ+ president of Puerto Rico’s Bar Association from 2012-2014. She condemned the racist attack on a video posted on Facebook on Sunday.
On Monday, Santarrosa tried to justify his actions with a half-assed apology, but Rivera Lassén did not accept them because Santarrosa did not apologize at all.
During the past weekend, the group “Boicot a La Comay” was reactivated and a list of “La Comay” sponsors was published. In less than 24 hours, 10 of the 15 sponsors had dropped out from advertising in the show citing a no tolerance policy on racism or discrimination.
It is unconscionable that after what Santarrosa went through, living in exile for six years, he did not learn anything about the experience that led him to be fired from his top position on television.
His constant homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and hate must stop. It has no place on television, it has no place in our modern society.
During these turbulent times when protests are raging around the world decrying racism and any form of hate, television should not be used to inflame and incite violence.
Racism is violence. Homophobia is violence. Misogyny is violence. Any form of discrimination is violence. It is hate.
In a similar case, a radio personality at WKAQ, Luis Dávila Colón used the N* word trying to defend the indefensible, meaning trying to stand up for Kobbo Santarrosa’s racism. The audio was published on Wednesday night and by Thursday morning, Dávila Colón was fired and his program canceled.
This makes it even more incredible that Mega TV and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has not issued any statement regarding this racist incident. That silence speaks volumes. That they haven’t acted is even more troubling.
Martin Luther King, Jr. used to say that “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
Raúl Alarcón and SBS silence are complicit and it is racist. When you stand silent in the face of racism in your own company, you are being racist. Period.
We call upon Alarcón, SBS, and Mega TV to stand up for what it is right. To take a stand against racism. To take a stand against bigotry. To take a stand against hate.
The boycott will continue. The pressure will go on. The ball is now on the court of the owners of Mega TV. We will not be silenced. We will make sure that our Puerto Rico is a place where racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and any type of hate will not be tolerated.
We are looking forward to the moment Alarcón and SBS say the fateful words: “Kobbo Santarrosa, you’re fired!”