Tag Archives: ricky martin

Univision dropping Miss USA pageant after Trump trashes Mexicans

Univision is dropping the Miss USA pageant and says it will cut all business ties with Donald Trump in a spiraling controversy over vicious comments the Republican presidential candidate made recently about Mexican immigrants.

The company said it would pull the plug on its Spanish-language coverage of the pageant July 12 by its UniMas network. It also has severed its business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which produces the Miss USA pageant, due to what it called “insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants” by Trump, a part owner of Miss Universe.

During his presidential campaign kickoff speech last week, Trump portrayed immigrants from Mexico as “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.” He also called for building a wall along the southern border of the U.S. The remarks drew condemnation from the Mexican government as “biased and absurd.”

In an interview, Trump said his criticism was directed against U.S. policymakers, not the Mexican people or government, adding that Univision would be defaulting on its contract if it doesn’t air the pageant and he would take legal action.

“At Univision, we see firsthand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country,” said the New York-based Univision Communications Inc.

Both cohosts of the UniMas telecast also pulled out on July 25, while Colombian singer J Balvin canceled a planned performance at the pageant.

NBC is scheduled to go forward with its own pageant coverage, as it has done since 2003.

Trump said Univision is submitting to pressure from Mexican leaders to punish him for positions he voices as a candidate on the campaign trail.

“They don’t want me saying that Mexico is killing the United States in trade and killing the United States at the border,” Trump said. “Univision is totally laying down for the Mexican government. … They want to silence Donald Trump. And Donald Trump can’t be silenced. … I have great respect for Mexico and I love the Mexican people, but my loyalty is to the United States.”

Univision declined to comment on Trump’s remarks.

In severing her ties with the show, Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sanchez, one of the two cohosts, cited Trump’s comments.

“Since I heard Trump’s speech, as a Latina I felt a lump in my stomach. ‘It’s got to be a joke,’ I thought,” the star of the Lifetime series Devious Maids told The Associated Press.

Chilean actor-producer Cristián de la Fuente, the show’s other cohost, also had strong words for Trump: “It’s a shame that such an important institution as Miss USA is now in the hands of a clown.”

Ricky Martin also took to Twitter to blast Trump.

“A lot of hatred and ignorance in his heart,” he tweeted.

Miss California USA Natasha Martinez was asked about Trump’s comments during an interview on Los Angeles TV station KCAL and said they were “a little bit tough to hear. But I know that this opportunity for me as Miss California-USA, and now competing for Miss USA, is a great bridge to kind of represent my community and let the world know that I am a proud Latino-American.”

This year’s UniMas telecast would have been the first in a five-year contract that Trump said “has no termination rights.” Univision’s wholly owned Spanish-language UniMas network, founded in 2013, is available in 70 million U.S. homes.

Sigal Ratner-Arias and Claudia Torrens in New York and John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

United Nations launches new LGBT equality campaign with celebrity backers

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on July 26 launched Free & Equal, describing the global public education campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality as “unprecedented.”

At a news conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was joined by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Constitutional Court to announce the year-long project. A statement of support was read on behalf of South African singer and goodwill ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world in which everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights – no exceptions, no-one left behind,” stated Pillay. “Yet it’s still a hollow promise for many millions of LGBT people forced to confront hatred, intolerance, violence and discrimination on a daily basis.”

“Changing attitudes is never easy. But it has happened on other issues and it is happening already in many parts of the world on this one. It begins with often difficult conversations,” Pillay continued. “And that is what we want to do with this campaign. Free & Equal will inspire millions of conversations among people around the world and across the ideological spectrum.”

The Free & Equal campaign aims to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and encourage greater respect for the rights of LGBT people.

The campaign follows an OHCHR report published in December 2011, which was the first ever official UN report on violence and discrimination against LGBT persons. The report documented widespread human rights abuses.

Today, more than 76 countries criminalize consensual, same-sex relationships, while in many more discrimination against LGBT people is widespread – including in the workplace as well as in the education and health sectors.

Hate-motivated violence against LGBT people, including physical assault, sexual violence, and targeted killings, has been recorded in all regions of the world, according to the UN.

The campaign will focus on the need for both legal reforms and public education to counter homophobia and transphobia.

A number of celebrities pledged to support Free & Equal by becoming UN equality champions, including pop star Ricky Martin, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly and Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury.

Ricky Martin wishes he could come out again

Latin superstar Ricky Martin told a United Nations conference on homophobia that he wishes he could come out again so he could tell people struggling with their identities that “it’s just beautiful – you find love.”

Martin said on Dec. 11 that “for many years, I lived in fear … because I was hating myself because I grew up listening to a very crooked concept: ‘You’re gay. You belong in hell.’”

Martin, who is currently starring on Broadway in “Evita,” said it was amazing to be at the United Nations surrounded by people “fighting for one cause – equality and love and social justice.”

He praised U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who got a standing ovation after telling the conference that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people “are entitled to the same rights as everyone else.”

“They, too, are born free and equal,” Ban said. “I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their struggle for human rights.”

The secretary-general said he is “pained” that more than 76 countries still criminalize homosexuality.

“I am here to again denounce violence and demand action for true equality,” he said.

While the past decade has seen far-reaching reforms in Europe, the Americas and a number of African and Asian countries, Ban said, in a number of countries – including Ukraine – draft laws have been proposed that would criminalize public discussion of homosexuality.

South African singing star Yvonne Chaka Chaka, a human rights activist and goodwill ambassador for the U.N. children’s fund who is married and has four children, said “I think straight people should respect other people because, for me, I don’t think there’s anything crooked about LGBT.”

Their only “crime,” she said, “is because they love the same gender.”

Chilean leaders condemn brutal beating of gay man

A brutal attack on a gay Chilean man drew strong condemnation from political leaders and entertainer Ricky Martin.

Doctors in Santiago said 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio had been put in an induced coma while being treated for severe head trauma and a broken right leg suffered in the beating on March 3.

A swastika was drawn on the victim’s chest by the unidentified assailants, leading to speculation that neo-Nazis may have attacked him. Prosecutors said on March 6 that they had no definite evidence of neo-Nazi involvement but were continuing to investigate that possibility.

Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter posted a message on his Twitter account saying he repudiated the homophobic attack and expressed “total solidarity” with Zamudio. Hinzpeter recently said Chile should consider enacting a hate crime law to deal with such attacks.

Opposition politician Gabriel Silver also condemned the beating and urged the government to move quickly on the anti-discrimination legislation.

Martin, a Puerto Rican-born singer, also used his Twitter account to condemn the attack.

“No more hatred, no more discrimination. I hope that justice is done NOW. Lots of light to Daniel and his whole family,” the tweet said.

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Giving thanks for Ricky Martin

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been having a hell of a time finding something to be thankful for. Then Ricky Martin stepped back into the limelight.

Little does the dreamy pop star know what a godsend he has been to this jaded old lesbian.

It’s been a bad month. The depression I’ve felt for some time about the disastrous shape of the country sunk into outright despair after the mid-term elections. The results seemed like final confirmation of President Obama’s complete failure to lead over the past two years. It heralded the triumph of the Big Lie(s) and the liars who promote them. It showed how easily led a frustrated public can be and how utterly impotent the left seems to be in gaining traction for any progressive ideas.

The biggest losers? The growing army of unemployed for whom no relief is in sight and our men and women in military service, doomed to lose their minds and lives in unending foreign occupations. The latest insane idea is to attack Iran, which apparently makes perfect sense to the inmates now running the asylum.

An end to “don’t ask, don’t tell”? Don’t hold your breath. Gay marriage? Probably not for long.

At times like these, lefties like me are supposed to heed the cry of our doomed martyr Joe Hill: “Don’t mourn – organize!” But I don’t want to mourn or organize right now. I’ve put on my headphones (good Milwaukee-made Koss headphones) and lost myself in music. I am further distracting myself with the modern opiate of the people – 24/7 celebrity culture.

That’s where I kept running into Ricky Martin. November has been a big month for Ricky. He’s on a publicity campaign promoting his autobiography and his upcoming world tour. The focus of the book and media interviews has been on his new status as an “out” gay man and father of two boys.

Some complain, “Geez Ricky, it’s about time … what took you so long?” But none of us can understand all the personal issues someone may be dealing with or, in Ricky’s case, the career concerns he probably had as such a worldwide mega-star. The important thing isn’t how long it took him but that he’s arrived at a point of acceptance.

In interviews, the energetic showman appeared modest and thoughtful, peaceful and content, especially when talking about his children. He responded patiently and wisely to the questions about his sexuality, saying that coming out is a process that was difficult for him, is different for everyone and should not be coerced. He showed class by being respectful of, and circumspect about, his past lovers, male and female. And he repeated the phrasing he used in his first disclosure earlier this year that being gay is “a blessing.”

A blessing. I love that expression. I have always felt blessed by my own lesbianism. Understanding your sexuality liberates you and makes you whole. It is spiritual, transformational, beneficial. What a great message to send out right now!

Ricky appeared at the Latin Grammys on Nov. 11. He had the honor of presenting a special award to Placido Domingo and sang a delightful duet with Natalia Jimenez. He looked fabulous, sounded awesome, danced deliciously and seemed bursting with pride and happiness to be back in his element. He must have been nervous about how he would be received, and it was with open arms and a tumultuous ovation.

I may be grasping at straws here, but in the midst of a bleak political landscape, Ricky Martin has provided an example of pride and progress. That’s something to be grateful for.

So gay

The newly out Ricky Martin has decided to go all the way gay. He’s headed for the Broadway musical stage, where he’ll play Che in the first revival of “Evita,” set to open in the spring of 2012. Martin was honored for his philanthropy at AmfAR’s June 3 New York City gala celebrating men’s fashion. Event host Kylie Minogue said she’s happy that Martin is “embracing and living life” since emerging from the closet.

Martin’s ex-leading man?

Since Martin’s venture into Outland, tabloids have linked the pop star with several men, including model Eduardo Verastegui, who in 2008 supported Republican John McCain’s presidential bid and the anti-gay constitutional amendment in California known as Proposition 8.

Verastegui taped a public service announcement pitching for Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, saying the measure “helps families and kids.”

Ricky Martin comes out

Singer Ricky Martin has finally swung open his closet door, putting an end to the worst-kept secret in the entertainment world.

“I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man,” Martin stated in a March 29 blog post on his Web site. “I am very blessed to be who I am.”

Martin said his sons gave him the inspiration to stop living a lie. “To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where born with,” he wrote. “Enough is enough. This has to change.”

Welcome to the free world, Ricky.