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Puerto Rican Day Parade Cuts Partnership With Daily News Over Racy Photo

By Gustavo Solis | June 19, 2015 10:45am
 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 — The National Puerto Rican Day Parade has terminated all marketing and advertising ties with the New York Daily News because the paper has refused to apologize for depicting their cultural celebration with a photo of two half-naked women in Times Square.

“The photo, as confirmed by you, your staff and the photographer himself, was taken in Times Square, and the subjects are topless, body-paint entertainers who pose for photos in exchange for tips,” the parade's board chair Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez wrote in a letter to the paper Thursday evening.

One of the women on the photo is Columbian and the other is Venezuelan. 

The paper did not reply to a voicemail requesting comment about the protest.

On Tuesday, the day after the image was published on page 8, Cortes-Vazquez asked Daily News CEO Bill Holiber to issue a front page apology for using the photo accompanied with the headline "Rear view on the Parade."

Cortes-Vazquez said the organization had no choice but to terminate their long-standing partnership with the paper because the Daily News refused to apologize.

They’ve asked the paper not to use the parade’s name or logotype to promote their Spanish-language site VIVA or any other publications, or marketing and community outreach, according to the letter.

“We made every attempt to express our sincere disappointment and to request a correction and apology,” she wrote. “Nonetheless, you and your Editor-in-Chief have opted to deny our request.”

Monday's photo was not the first time the paper has received criticism of their Puerto Rican Day Parade coverage. In 2012 they ran a Cuban flag in an advertisement of the parade.

Puerto Rican groups protested outside the Daily News' offices Tuesday and Wednesday, many of them calling for a boycott, according to the group's Facebook page.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez backed the protestors saying the Daily News’ coverage distracted from the important issues the parade was trying to shed light on.

“This year’s event was among the most substantive in recent memory with a focus on meaningful issues like Medicare cuts in Puerto Rico, the need to free Oscar Lopez and strategies to remediate the Superfund site El Cano Martin Pena,” she said in a statement. “Rather than cover these important matters, the Daily News chose to instead dredge up salacious photographs of individuals who were not even on the parade route.”