“About a week and a half ago, the City celebrated a full 24 hours without a single murder, stabbing or shooting. Such an occurrence is rare on the island of Puerto Rico, which is half the size of NYC at 4 million people but last year suffered over 1,000 murders. Puerto Rican people on the island, here in NYC and beyond are simply fed up with this sad state of affairs. Fueled by the drug trade, police corruption and high unemployment, this enormous wave of crime has taken far too many lives. One of the latest victims which has inspired a mass movement is José Enrique Gómez, who was forced to withdraw $400 from an ATM machine before he was beaten, doused with gasoline and set on fire. Since then, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have been organizing online under the banner ‘Todos Somos José Enrique’ or ‘We Are All José Enrique’ and held large demonstrations on the island and here in New York as well.
“Embroiled within this mass movement is a huge pushback against a show on Puerto Rican network WAPA-TV which is shown here in New York. This program, which features a puppet called La Comay, has long been criticized for its use of vile homophobic slurs. In April of 2010 the Council’s LGBT Caucus, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and I wrote to the FCC to call for an investigation into this offensive language which prompted an apology from the show.
“This show crossed another line when it attacked Jose Enrique Gomez and suggested that he was killed because he was on a street known for prostitution. This latest controversy has ignited a historic boycott that has pressured sponsors, including Walmart, to pull advertising from the show. Clearly, the network is now feeling the pressure. But the truth is that we’ve heard enough apologies. Nothing short of taking this show completely off the air would be acceptable.
“We are more united than ever in fighting to stop the violence in Puerto Rico and stop the hatred that is regularly spewed on this offensive television program.
“It is my sincere hope that with all of this pressure and with a new change in leadership coming in the new year we see positive changes on the island moving forward. ¡Basta ya con la violencia! ¡Todos Somos José Enrique!”