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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spanish-Language Talk Show Slammed for Homophobic Content

By Kilian Melloy -

A talk show that has been described as "a Spanish-language version of Jerry Springer" has sparked a push for channels and advertisers to drop the program, and the pressure seems to be working.

"José Luis Sin Censura" ("José Luis Uncensored") lost advertisers and was dropped from at least two channels, Miami’s WSVN-7 and KCTU-TV in Wichita, Kan., after pro-equality groups voiced concerns about the show’s anti-gay content, the Miami Herald reported on June 2.

Two groups, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), registered complaints with the FCC last February about the program. Advertisers that dropped the show included AT&T and Time Warner Cable.

The head of NHMC, Alex Nogales, said that the program was "pornography," and told the Los Angeles Times, "They encourage people to go and beat up the people who are declaring themselves to be gay." Declared Nogales, "We want it off the air." The LA Times ran a story on the fracas on Feb. 28.

"The show, which airs in the afternoons across the country ... often turns into a shouting match between young men who often insult each other with anti-gay slurs," the LA Times article said. "Fists fly as well."

GLAAD head Jarrett Barrios condemned the program as being inflammatory.

"We are put at risk by this content," Barrios said. "This is far and away the most outrageous and defamatory television show."

"Although some of the language on the show is bleeped, much of is not," the LA Times article noted. NHMC and GLAAD prepared a list of offensive words heard on the show and their English translations.

"The original FCC complaint documented over twenty episodes that aired between June 18 and December 7, 2010," a June 2 GLAAD media release said. Among the unbleeped insults hurled by those appearing on the show, the GLAAD release said, were "pinche" ("fucking"), "culero" ("assfucker"), and "anti-gay language, including epithets such as ’maricón,’ ’joto’ and ’puñal’ (or ’faggot’), and anti-Latino slurs, such as ’mojado’ (’wetback’).

"The program frequently feature blatant nudity and female guests have been shown in violent fights," the GLAAD release reported. "Guests and audience members were often incited to engage in verbal and even physical attacks. Many episodes showed the audience standing and shouting anti-gay epithets and profanity at guests."

A June 17 meeting is slated between the show’s Burbank, Calif.-based distributor, Liberman Broadcasting, and the two equality advocacy groups who filed the complaint with the FCC, the Miami Herald article said.

"I’m going to sit down and listen to what they have to say. We want to fix the problem," the company’s COO, Winter Horton, told the media. "They can lay out their concerns and we can fix them."

The GLAAD release noted that viewers were also offended by the show’s content.

The CEO of KCTU, Ron Nutt, was quoted as saying, " became clear that much of its content was so objectionable that, at one point or another, half of its viewership had called us with a complaint." Added Nutt, "They are going for sensationalism. If an English-language network put out this content, they would be asking for trouble."

"However, ’José Luis Sin Censura’ continues to air during the daytime in markets throughout the country, unaltered. NHMC and GLAAD are continuing to contact advertisers and affiliates," the GLAAD release said.

"AT&T, Time Warner Cable and these broadcasters have sent a strong message by refusing to support a show that promotes such violence against our community," Barrios said. "Though we are encouraged by Liberman’s willingness to begin a dialogue, we continue to call on advertisers, broadcasters and the FCC to take a stand against this offensive content."

"The advertisers and broadcasters that we are recognizing today wisely chose to abandon their relationships with this program," said Nogales. "Not only does this demonstrate corporate responsibility, but also that being affiliated with ’José Luis Sin Censura’ is bad for business.

"I expect that others will follow in the near future, as they realize that obscenity, intolerance and sexism are out of style," added Nogales.

Instinct Magazine reported on June 2 that the program is rated TV-14, meaning that parents cannot block it using V-Chips technology.

Kilian Melloy is EDGE Media Network’s Web Producer and Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews media, conducts interviews, and writes aggregate news stories and commentary for EDGE.

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