Mexican Jokes at Spanish-Language Radio Show Stir Outrage

(Photo by Héctor Calderón via Diario de México)

Mexicans protest what they consider offensive jokes on La Mega 97.9’s “El Vacilón de la Mañana” March 16 show. (Photo by Héctor Calderón via Diario de México)

For more than four hours, around 250 Mexicans and people of other communities protested against radio station La Mega 97.9, after the March 16 broadcast of material deemed offensive toward Mexicans during the show “El Vacilón de la Mañana” .

“The xenophobic offenses ranged from calling us robbers to prostitutes. A media outlet is supposed to educate and entertain, not humiliate and insult,” said María Castro, from Puebla.

She was joined by many representatives of the Mexican community, like Jorge Hernández. “How can it be that a radio station whose hosts are Hispanic is dedicated to insulting, offending and making fun of all of us,” he said. “Even worse, they absurdly say that we shouldn’t get offended because they do the same with the rest of the communities who live in New York.”

The protesters chanted a series of slogans, including “racism is terrorism,” “we want respect,” and “la Mega go to hell.” Meanwhile, La Mega workers came out to take pictures and video of the protesters, which justifiably raised their anger. They even demanded that the station fire the host who made the offending comments.

Protester Yurico Soriano said: “I’m here to protest against a radio station that is being racist. I’m ashamed that such an important outlet uses its platform to offend Mexicans instead of unifying the Latino community. We have enough with Donald Trump.”

Maritza Ramírez, from Guerrero, said that “those so-called journalists should learn to respect all the communities, and stop fostering division with denigrating and insulting shows.”

Among the protesters was José Luis Bernal, from Veracruz, who works as radio host at a Philadelphia station: “I’ve been in this job for many years, but I have never fallen into the absurdity of creating a scandal using offensive material only for the purpose of getting ratings. I don’t think this is a professional way of doing journalism.”

Aracely Méndez, from Puebla, said: “We demand respect, not only for us but for all the communities that are offended daily by those so-called communicators through the Vacilón de la Mañana show.”

Go to Diario de México for more photos from the protest and video of March 16 show of “El Vacilón de la Mañana.”

 

Diario de México has widely reported about the incident during the week. Below are excerpts from another story published on Monday, March 21.

Screenshots from Diario de México via video of the March 16 “El Vacilón de la Mañana” show

Screenshots from Diario de México via video of the March 16 “El Vacilón de la Mañana” show

In the March 16 show of “El Vacilón de la Mañana,” offensive and racist comments were made against Mexicans which have outraged thousands of members of the community in the city. Among other things, you can hear a man comparing “gringos” and Mexicans.

The offensive phrases include: “[A gringo] reading a newspaper is an intellectual, a Mexican is going to the restroom”; “A gringo who runs is a sportsman; a Mexican just crossed the border”; “A gringo with a gun is cautious; a Mexican is a robber”; “A gringo goes to a brothel seeking pleasure; a Mexican, to seek his sister.”

The next day, the host who made the comments, Ramón Kanibal [who is Dominican], said that Mexicans don’t have a sense of humor because it was only a joke, but he was pressed to apologize by his co-workers.

“To err is human; to recognize it is manly,” he began, and then went on to apologize to those in the Mexican community who had been offended.

“El Vacilón de la Mañana” is the most popular Spanish-language radio show in New York.

(…)

A group of Mexicans started a Facebook page demanding a public apology from Kanibal and calling for his dismissal at “El Vacilón,” citing the wave of racism that people of Mexican origin are enduring following the rhetoric of Donald Trump’s campaign.

(…)

The Consulate General of Mexico in New York also vigorously condemned the jokes broadcast on “El Vacilón” (…)

“These kinds of assertions, which have been encouraged by the xenophobia of a presidential candidate (Trump), demonstrate a high level of ignorance toward Mexican culture, and fail to acknowledge the enormous daily contributions of Mexican immigrants to American society (…),” said spokesman for the consulate Carlos Izzo Rivera.

 

On Wednesday, a story by Rubén Rivero reported that local Mexican groups are asking the FCC to punish the station because of the jokes.

Following the broadcast of controversial jokes about Mexicans made by radio host of “El Vacilón de la Mañana” Ramón Kanibal, the group Mexicanos Unidos de Nueva York (Mexicans United in New York) made a petition through change.org for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action against the Mega 97.9 FM station’s show.

In the petition, the group argues that Ramón Kanibal’s jokes perpetuate negative stereotypes about Mexican women, and that radio should not be a place for racist expressions. At press time, more than 600 people had signed. [By Friday, there were more than 1,890.]

A Mexican Consulate letter to programming director Arturo Sosa criticizing Kanibal’s jokes. (Image via Diario de México)

A Mexican Consulate letter to programming director Arturo Sosa criticizing Kanibal’s jokes. (Image via Diario de México)

During yesterday’s show, the hosts read a letter by the Mexican Consulate in New York directed to programming director Arturo Sosa condemning Ramón Kanibal’s words.

However, the radio hosts stated that the “Mexican Consulate is not in a position to condemn anything that is being done in this country.” They reiterated that it’s a show about comedy and satire in which they make jokes about all communities. Furthermore, they said that they have repeatedly supported Mexico.

“In New York we live a very stressful life and we need to forget about the problems that press us daily. People know that this is a game,” they said.

“We are not going to change our approach,” they added, and said they were apologizing for the last time. “It is not our intention to do harm; it is not our intention to do wrong. We do the same with all nations,” said Kanibal.

For its part, the Consulate General of Mexico in New York said that it received a message by programming director Arturo Sosa, in which he reiterated his apologies, and vowed that the station’s doors remain open for the Latino community.

Businessman Pedro Zamora, president of Zamora Inc., [and nightclubs] La Boom and Stage 48, sent a letter via social media urging Mega 97.9 managers to check the content and context of their shows, and not to misread freedom of expression to support acts against the Latino communities. He said that the comments did promote discrimination against the Mexican community.

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