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Puerto Rican Day Parade Organizers Demand Daily News Apology Over Photo

By  Gustavo Solis and Gwynne Hogan | June 17, 2015 3:08pm 

 The New York Daily News published a racy photo of two people who were not connected to the annual parade. Organizers say it was an "overt misrepresentation" of their event.
Puerto Rican Day parade Controversy
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EAST HARLEM — Organizers of the Puerto Rican Day Parade are demanding a frontpage apology from the Daily News after the tabloid ran a shot of two half-naked women with the words “Borricua” and “Pto Rico” painted on their rearends.

The Daily News, a co-sponsor of the parade, ran the racy photo on page 8 Monday with the headline “Rear view on Parade.”

"The continuous misrepresentation, inaccurate information, and lack of dignified coverage has taken us back to the 1950s and promotes discrimination, prejudice, misogyny and hatred," according to an open letter put out by the organization.

The photo was taken in Times Square, not at the parade, and the women are not Puerto Rican.

Gaby Santos, 26, of Colombia, and Diana Peña, 22, from Venezuela, have worked in Times Square for just a few months, painting their bare bodies for tips from tourists who snap their pictures. They hadn't seen the bums in print until Wednesday, they said.

"We were surprised," said Peña after seeing the photo.

"We don't want to cause problems, we just simply wanted to take part in the celebration that day," said Santos.

“The image published is not only disrespectful to the Puerto Rican culture, as it shows two topless women in g-strings, it is misleading, as they are clearly nowhere near the Parade route but in Times Square,” Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, the board chair of the parade, wrote in a strongly worded letter to the Daily News.

Parade organizers are demanding the tabloid to issue a front-page apology for their “distasteful and inaccurate coverage,” according to the letter.

The letter went on to say that they are, “deeply offended and concerned, as this mistake is a gross, overt misrepresentation of the Parade and it serves to reinforce negative perceptions about Puerto Rican people and culture.”

This is not the first time the paper got in trouble with the Puerto Rican community.

In 2012, shortly after the tabloid shutdown its Spanish-language weekly, the paper ran images of the Cuban flag in an advertisement for the 2012 Puerto Rican Day parade. The snafu prompted New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz to boycott the paper's float.

On Tuesday, the parade organizers staged a protest and will hold another one Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at the paper's offices in New York Plaza at 4 p.m., according to their Facebook page.

Members of the online group are calling for all Puerto Ricans to boycott the newspaper.

"Spread the word and don't buy Daily News since they find it ok to report inaccurate information and pictures," wrote Wanda Ortiz.