Jan. 9, 2013 -- The man who voices the lady-puppet that dominates Puerto Rico's airwaves recently resigned amidst controversy.
Antulio "Kobbo" Santarrosa, the SuperXclusivo TV show creator and puppet-master behind La Comay, ignited a boycott of the show after making controversial remarks about the brutal slaying of publicist José Enrique Gomez in December.The movement successfully convinced dozens of advertisers to pull funding during the show, arguing that his statements regarding the murder were indicative of how the show promoted discrimination against the LGBT community, racism, and sexism. WAPA denied these claims, arguing that in the case of the controversial murder, La Comay was simply repeating statements made by other news sources on the island.
Puerto Rico's two largest newspapers, Primera Hora and El Nuevo Dia, reported that Santarrosa put in his resignation on Monday or Tuesday, in stories which relied on anonymous sources. On Wednesday, morning Puerto Rican online news source Noticel reported that Santarrosa himself confirmed the news. Santarrosa could not be reached Wednesday afternoon at a cell phone number registered to the TV-personality.
According to the report from El Nuevo Dia , Santarrosa refused to continue with the show under the new guidelines set forth by WAPA TV, which stipulated that the program, which had always been aired Live, be pre-screened for controversial content. Santarrosa submitted his resignation on Monday, and the show was forced to re-run Monday's episode on Tuesday, Primera Hora reported.
Activist Pedro Julio Serrano, who has been one of the leaders of the movement to boycott SuperXclusivo, is hesitant to celebrate the news until it is confirmed by WAPA.
"I want to be very cautious. In my 15 years of activism, I've always been prudent," Serrano said. "And I don't want to give a comment until this is confirmed.
Yet another news source on the island, Metro PR, reported that the puppeteer may be moving to Mega TV, a U.S.-based Spanish-language network. A Mega TV spokesperson said they could not confirm or deny the report at this time.
But, Serrano says that this is likely no more than a "rumor." If it were true, the boycott would move to Mega TV, Serrano said.
"This boycott is not against WAPA," Serrano said. "It's against Santarrosa and we will follow him and others who act like him wherever they go."
UPDATE: A prior version of this article noted that WAPA TV failed to respond to requests for comment, but the company confirmed Santarrosa's departure on Wednesday evening to ABC/Univision, with the release of this statement:
"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. We are grateful for the 14 years that Mr. Santarosa has been part of the WAPA family and we have supported Mr. Santarosa throughout his entire time with WAPA. Since Mr. Santarosa's contract was scheduled to end in March, 2013, we have been working on plans for an exciting new program, which we will announce shortly. We are confident that our viewers will share in our excitement."