New York's annual Puerto Rican Day parade is one of the city’s most famous and festive parades, and usually gathers hundreds of thousands of revelers enjoying Boricua pride. At the same time the parade has gotten a bad rap over the actions of a few rabble-rousers like in 2000 when some women were groped and harassed. Hence, one would guess that it would not be in the parade organizer’s best interest to choose an actor accused of domestic violence as the event’s “godfather”. Think again.
Puerto Rican telenovela actor Osvaldo Rios was convicted on a domestic violence charge in 2003, stemming from the 1996 assault of his girlfriend. He would eventually serve a three-month jail sentence and the incident nearly finished his career. Yet parade chiefs decided that he would serve as “padrino internacional” at this Sunday’s parade.
The stunning and insensitive selection of Rios to the parade created a firestorm; anti-domestic violence activists blasted the move while Verizon pulled its sponsorship of the event. A group of local councilwomen threatened to boycott the parade and Rep. Luis Gutierrez resigned from being one of the event’s marshals.
The backlash became very strong and on Tuesday Rios publicly dropped out from the parade. Yet the damage may have already been done as seen by one of his detractors in the video below:
Online Sources- YouTube, NBC New York, New York Times, New York Daily News, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune