By CRISTINA COSTANTINI (@xtinatini)
On Thursday night’s episode of The Daily Show, comedian Wyatt Cenac ended his four-year run as one of the show’s correspondents with a segment about a news and gossip show in Puerto Rico called SuperXclusivo, essentially praising its work. But Cenac’s report neglected to mention that there is currently a controversy brewing on the island surrounding the show.
Super Xclusivo, which has long been the commonwealth’s highest-rated TV show, came under fire last week after co-host Hector Travieso and co-host puppet, La Comay (voiced by Kobbo Santarrosa) hinted that a brutal murder on the island may have partially been the victim’s fault because he may have been soliciting a prostitute. The show defended itself, saying it was simply repeating news reported in the island’s newspapers.
But more than 50,000 Puerto Ricans joined a Facebook group to boycott the show in less than 24 hours, and a handful of companies including Walmart and AT&T have pulled their advertising from the show in response. The group has now grown to 70,000 Facebook members and organizers say they won’t stop fighting until the show is removed from the airways.
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Critics of SuperXclusivo, including spokesperson for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Pedro Julio Serrano, say that «bullying and hate» have long been the «trademarks of SuperXclusivo.» Serrano says that the show has had anti-gay and racist undertones for many years, and that Puerto Ricans are sick of it. WAPA TV and SuperXclusivo did not respond to requests for comment regarding the boycott.
A number of prominent members of the Puerto Rican community, including singer Ricky Martin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) have joined the movement to boycott the program.
But none of this was part of Cenac’s broadcast. Instead, he focused his report on the life-sized puppet, La Comay (slang for comadre), framing her as «Puerto Rico’s most trusted journalist.» In the segment, Cenac turns into a puppet himself, and pleads with La Comay to «teach [him] to be a better journalist.»
The Daily Show did not respond to a request for comment about whether the program knew about the boycott, or if the segment was perhaps recorded before the movement started last week. But Renata Luczak, a spokesperson for Comedy Central, which airs the show, wrote in an email that The Daily Show staff is on hiatus until January 7th.
The Latino Rebels, a blog which offers commentary on topics of importance to U.S. Latinos, expressed frustration at the glaring omission in what they call a «fluff piece» about the popular Puerto Rican show.
«You would have thought someone on The Daily Show could have paused for a minute and rethought the timing of the segment,» the Latino Rebels noted, adding that it was possible that the Comedy Central show wasn’t aware of the controversy. «In this case, [The Daily Show] could have done a bit more homework about La Comay.»