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Puppet riles LGBT activists
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

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A group of Chicago LGBT activists has joined a widespread call to axe a controversial Puerto Rican puppet after the character made comments that many perceived to be inappropriate.

La Comay (roughly "the Godmother," in English) has long been controversial among LGBTs and Puerto Ricans. Activists have called for the removal of the the puppet, played by of Kobbo Santarrosa WAPA TV's show SuperXclusivo in the past.

Following the high-profile murder of 19-year-old Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado three years ago, La Comay found herself in hot water for comments that many perceived to be homophobic. Others have said her comments are racist and xenophobic.

Now, LGBT Chicagoans are urging WAPA to pull the plug on La Comay after the character speculated that a Puerto Rican murder victim, Jose Enrique Gomez, brought death on himself by frequenting an area known for male and female sex work.

A Facebook page calling for a boycott of La Comay quickly garnered 75,000 supporters by Dec. 28, and appeared to be growing.

In Chicago, a list of LGBT leaders and Latin@ politicians has joined that call. Among those listed on a letter honoring Enrique and calling for an end to La Comay are Illinois Sens. Iris Martinez and William Delgado; Rep. Toni Berrios; Alds. Rey Colon and Joe Moreno; Cook County Commissioners Edwin Reyes and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia; and Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios.

LGBT groups such as the Association of Latino Men for Action, Equality Illinois, Center on Halsted and Vida/SIDA also appear on the letter.

Ruben Feliciano, an organizer of Chicago efforts against La Comay, noted the city's large Puerto Rican population and the impact that could have on efforts against the puppet.

'I think this time they finally went overboard," he said. "It was the final straw for a lot of people."

In a statement sent to Windy City Times, WAPA president Jose E. Ramos said that the station, show and character respect viewers. "We sincerely regret if comments made on the show are ever a source of pain for anyone," Ramos said in the statement.

The statement notes that WAPA worked with LGBT advocates the last time such an issue arose and went on to say that WAPA will not be canceling the show as requested.

"However, as responsible broadcasters, we have decided to implement a brief tape delay on SuperXclusivo to ensure the show continues to provide entertainment while upholding the values of the station at all times," the statement concludes.

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