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WAPA Apologizes for Antigay Language

WAPA Apologizes for Antigay Language


The president of Puerto Rican television station WAPA has apologized to viewers for homophobic remarks made by a variety show host in reference to newly out singer Ricky Martin. The comments drew a rebuke from New York City elected officials, who joined the call for a Federal Communications Commission investigation into the antigay language earlier this week.

The complaints concerned the show Super Xclusivo which airs in New York City on WAPA America. Host Hector Travieso, who banters with a puppet during the program, repeatedly referred to Martin by using the derogatory word pato, which translates as "fag." He insisted there was nothing wrong with the word in response to initial complaints.

On Tuesday, elected officials sent a letter to the FCC asking the regulatory agency to investigate the network for the remarks. Since then, the show has apologized, as reported by Primera Hora, a newspaper in Puerto Rico. The article also includes a video clip in Spanish during which the show interviews Puerto Rican gay activist Pedro Julio Serrano, who was at the center of the fight.

WAPA Television president Jose E. Ramos also issued a letter to viewers that a spokeswoman shared with The Advocate. The letter reads, in part, "At WAPA we pride ourselves on having an open and inclusive workplace that is respectful of all of the unique individuals that make up our proud culture. I want you to be assured that the entire WAPA management team and I are taking this incident very seriously and have taken measures to avoid such similarly regrettable incidents from taking place again."

Among the steps taken, according to Ramos, are a reaffirmation of the antidiscrimination policy among employees, the on-air apology from the Super Xclusivo cast, and beginning work on a new public service campaign to raise awareness of offensive language.

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