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Internet Boycott Leads to Resignation of “La Comay” in Puerto Rico

Categories: Caribbean, Latin America, Puerto Rico (U.S.), Breaking News, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Media & Journalism, Protest

(All links lead to Spanish language sites, except where otherwise noted)

On the night of 8 January, 2013, social networks were flooded with reports of the resignation [1] of TV producer, Antulio “Kobbo” Santarrosa, from local TV station, WAPA. Santarrosa, the man behind the puppet personality, La Comay, produced what was probably the most controversial program on Puerto Rican television: “SuperXclusivo.”

Santarrosa's resignation is the culmination of a movement that started on Facebook [2]. The online movement called for the boycott of the “SuperXclusivo” show due to comments made by Santarrosa [3] that caused widespread upset among Puerto Ricans. Santarrosa insinuated that a murder and torture victim got what he deserved, for being in a secluded part of the town of Caguas, which, according to him, was a “prostitution and homosexuality [4]” hotspot [see video from 6:48 minutes in]. The movement brought about sufficient pressure for various companies to withdraw their ads during the hour in which the program aired, and WAPA decided not to broadcast the program live any longer, in order for it to be screened for potential inflammatory content by the channel's administration.

The movement caused a controversy which raised interesting questions on censorship [5], what constitutes a boycott [6], and whether Santarrosa's program could be considered journalism or not.

On Twitter, users expressed incredulity, jubiliation, protest and indifference. Of course, there was no shortage of comments with a sense of humor, either:

@GelockS [7]: Todavia no lo creo… RIP La Comay?

@GelockS [7]: I still can't believe it… RIP La Comay?

@Rene_A_Vargas [8]: Hasta nunca, Kobbo. No serás extrañado. Mucho que aprender sobre la caída de la Comay. Felicidades a @BoicotLaComay [9] y a @PedroJulio [10].

@Rene_A_Vargas [8]: See you never, Kobbo. You won't be missed. Still a lot to find about the fall of La Comay. Congratulations to @BoicotLaComay [9] and to @PedroJulio [10].

@SoyRobi [11]: No veo La Comay pero simpatizo con la postura de Kobbo de no permitir censura y aunque sus compañeros no se den cuenta protege a otros…

@SoyRobi [11]: I don't watch La Comay but I sympathise with Kobbo's stand on not bowing to censorship and even though his colleagues might not realise it, it protects others.

@marinaov21 [12]: cancelaron la comay. aunque eso no resuelve nada, es un buen comienzo hacia un mejor futuro. :)

@marinaov21 [12]:  They cancelled la comay. even though this doesn't resolve anything, it's a good start towards a better future.

@manolexico [13]: Hoy es la comay, mañana puede ser Pedro Julio….

@manolexico [13]: Today, it's la comay, tomorrow it could be Pedro Julio….

@DraMontijo [14]: El Fin de La Comay. Se caen Los Imperios. El Poder de las Redes Sociales.

@DraMontijo [14]: The end of La Comay. Empires are falling. The Power of Social Networks.

@adriana_baez [15]: El hecho de que se cancele La Comay no va a afectar para bien o para mal a Puerto Rico #sameshit [16]

@adriana_baez [15]: The fact that they canceled La Comay is not going to affect Puerto Rico for better, nor for worse. #sameshit [16]

@Barbarajosefina [17]: A que Telemundo, Univision u otro canal lo contrata… tiempo al tiempo. Y ojalá me equivoque. Ojalá!!!

@Barbarajosefina [17]: Telemundo, Univision or some other channel will pick him up… give it time. I hope that I'm wrong. God willing!!!

@GabrieloscarRR [18]: Un PR sin la Comay como Cuba sin Fidel

@GabrieloscarRR [18]: Puerto Rico with no La Comay is like Cuba without Fidel

@darkRemiiix [19]: Que comiencen los memes de La Comay…

@darkRemiiix [19]: Let the La Comay memes begin…

There is one thing that cannot be doubted: the key role played by social networks in bringing about the resignation of the producer who had reigned for years with the largest TV audience in Puerto Rico and who had thought he was untouchable.