Wapa TV’s SuperXClusivo has been on air nearly 13 years, with La Comay holding court — an over-sized puppet which provides news and gossip to Puerto Rico‘s viewers. Now the show has been cancelled after the resignation by creator Kobbo Santarrosa, who bristled at changes made to the show fueled by an effective “Boicot La Comay” social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
Wapa TV released a statement about Santarrosa’s resignation.
“Kobbo Santarosa has resigned from SuperXclusivo. Despite both parties having reached agreements regarding production of the show that would allow it to continue, Mr. Santarosa walked out yesterday shortly before his show was scheduled to tape. He made this decision on his own without consulting WAPA management. We sincerely regret any inconvenience or disruption that this has caused to our loyal viewers.”
La Comay had always been a show which had a love-hate relationship with Puerto Ricans, but the boycott began after many felt the over the top personality crossed the line in comments about José Enrique Gómez Saladín, a publicist who was the victim of a high-profile murder on the island. La Comay said he was killed in an area where there was a lot of prostitution and some interpreted the full comments as an insinuation that Gómez Saladín was gay, which infuriated many who felt enough was enough.
The Facebook page amassed more than 76,000 fans and the #BoicotLaComay hashtag was effectively used on Twitter to amplify the message, with Puerto Rican stars like Ricky Martin and Willie Colon using it and spreading news of the boycott to millions of followers.
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) December 19, 2012
Pedro Julio Serrano, a leading voice for #BoicotLaComay, says the resignation shows the power of regular people on social media.
“I think it’s been a powerful movement,” says Serrano, who is a spokesperson for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Puerto Rico. “We have seen the Puerto Rican people give a show of respect. They’ve said enough with violence, enough with intolerance. Enough with bullying and making fun of people. This show has made fun of blacks, African descendant people in Puerto Rico, women who have suffered breast cancer. It’s made fun of the LGBT community. The people of Puerto Rico have said enough.”
Some like long-time viewer Manuel Fernandez, 78, say the show will be missed if it is indeed cancelled, by some who saw it as more than just a gossip show.
“Some people love La Comay, some people hate him,” he says from Puerto Rico. “But I think most people like to see the program. It’s not just gossip. They have breaking news. They follow-up on criminal cases we might have forgotten about.”
Nonetheless, Serrano says people finally understand the power of social media.
“They didn’t know how to access power, how to access people who make decisions. It gives people a voice they didn’t understand they had,” he says.
“Social media has transformed the protest and now it’s a new ballgame. People who do not adapt will suffer the consequences.”