Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mexican TV Clown Apologizes for Jokes Against Dead Kids

Mexican comedian Sergio Verduzco, better known as Platanito the Clown, apologized after joking about a fire that killed nearly fifty children in 2009.

“I am a clown that wants to create laughter rather than cause pain,” said Verduzco in a video statement via YouTube. He added “It was not my intention nor that of my show to hurt the memory of the children” either killed or injured as a result of the deadly Guardería ABC (ABC Nursery) blaze in Sonora state.

Despite his apparent contrition Verduzco nonetheless claimed that his TV show is for adults and that jokes shown came from his live and unedited stage show. “Making negative comments about me…will not solve the nation’s problems,” said Verduzco in response to the fierce backlash against his insensitive humor.

The controversy emerged after a video clip of was posted on YouTube from one of his stage performances. (Translated text below):

“Do you know why Michael Jackson died? Out of desperation because they torched a nursery up in Sonora…Besides, now there is no nursery. They opened a joint called ‘Kentucky Fried Children’”.
Verduzco has faced a mountain of criticisms since the video was posted on Monday. “As a father it made me cry,” said Julio César Márquez, head of a group representing victims’ families. Twitter users using the #FueraDelAirePlatanitoShow called on people to boycott Platanito’s stage show and TV program. Sonora governor Guillermo Padrés Elías said that he would do “whatever is at my reach so that (TV network) Televisa can feel our indignation.”

The June 2009 Guarderia ABC fire killed forty-nine children and left over one hundred injured. A subsequent investigation concluded that numerous safety faults led to such a high death toll including “poor infrastructure of the daycare…and a lack of employees to carry out an appropriate emergency response.”

President Felipe Calderon signed into law last October a measure aimed at preventing tragedies like the Guarderia ABC blaze. The “Ley de Guarderías” (Nursery Law) establishes new safety regulations for all day care centers and provides additional federal oversight of these facilities.

Video Source – YouTube via SinEmbargoMX

Online Sources – Univision.com, El Universal, El Colombiano, The Latin Americanist, Latin American News Dispatch, Global Voices Online

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