NY TIMES: Controversial Puppeteer Resigns in Puerto Rico…

NY-Times-Logo_250By TANZINA VEGA
The New York Times

The television personality who plays La Comay, a Puerto Rican puppet that was the subject of a media firestorm in November over comments he made about the death of a publicist, has resigned from the network that carried the show.

Antulio Kobbo Santarrosa resigned from WAPA TV on Tuesday. He departed after new guidelines to manage the content of the show, called “SuperXclusivo,” were put in place, including recording it before its 6 p.m. broadcast time and staying away from offensive language.

Mr. Santarrosa’s contract includes a clause that prohibits talent on the network from “tortuous, illegal, obscene, offensive or distasteful remarks or conduct in connection with the shows.” He and Hector Travieso, his sidekick on the show, walked out of the studio after a disagreement with the network president, Jose E. Ramos, said a person with direct knowledge of the incident who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Mr. Ramos declined to comment on the incident.

The show, one of the island’s most popular, had resumed production on Monday after a holiday break. After Mr. Santarrosa and Mr. Travieso left Tuesday evening, the network replayed Monday’s episode.

“SuperXclusivo” is broadcast five days a week from 6 to 7 p.m., a critical time slot for the network. The show is suspended indefinitely and the network will broadcast movies in its place for the duration of the week.

Calls for a boycott of the show began after La Comay asked whether the 32-year-old publicist, José Enrique Gómez Saladín, who had been brutally murdered in November, was “asking for this.” In recent weeks, the show had also lost prominent advertisers, like Walmart and AT&T.

The puppet La Comay (roughly translated as The Godmother) was created by Mr. Santarrosa, a comedian and television personality. “SuperXclusivo” has been broadcast on WAPA Television, an independent Puerto Rican network owned by the private equity firm InterMedia, since 1999.

Before WAPA, Mr. Santarrosa had shows with similar characters on other networks, including Telemundo. Some began questioning on Wednesday whether Mr. Santarrosa would take the character to another network.

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