Protests against Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló have grown since the leak over the weekend of an 889-page chat that revealed sexist, racist, homophobic and violent comments by the governor and his team about opponents and even members of Rosselló's own party.
The leaked chats, which follow separate allegations of corruption that have rocked the island, also included references to Puerto Rican star performers Ricky Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bad Bunny. All three are firing back at the governor and calling for his resignation. Martin, Bad Bunny and other prominent Puerto Rican artists will join what are expected to be tens of thousands of protesters marching in Old San Juan on Wednesday. Miranda plans to protest in New York.
Here is how those celebrities got caught up the leaked chat scandal, through no fault of their own, and how they have responded.
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The “Livin’ La Vida Loca” singer was denigrated in the chats by one of Rosselló’s top officials.
The administration's former chief financial officer, Christian Sobrino, leveled homophobic and machista slurs against the international superstar, who’s openly gay, married and is the father of three children.
Sobrino questioned and mocked the singer’s sexual orientation by saying Martin preferred to have sex with men over women because “women don’t live up to the expectations.”
On Saturday, shortly after the chat was published, Martin reacted by tweeting “your conduct is not a result of an error or inexperience, it has been a conscious and deliberate act, totally irresponsible and that attempts against human rights [...] Act with true generosity, courage and love for Puerto Rico and cede your post to another person with the wisdom and leadership to lead our fate as a country."
Martin later said in a video posted on Twitter Tuesday night that he planned to join protests on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.
In the video, Martin invited others to peacefully march from the Capitol to Fortaleza, the governor's mansion in Old San Juan.
"Tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. I'm going to be with you. I'm going to walk with my people [...] We're going to let Ricardo Rosselló know that we don't want him in power, that we're tired and we can't deal with these leaders' cynicism anymore," he said.
Trap singer Bad Bunny, internationally known for songs like “Estamos Bien” and “La Romana,” is also planning to join protests after being mentioned in the chat.
Sobrino made a joke about Bad Bunny’s surprise visit back in January with Gov. Rosselló and Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Residente, co-founder of Calle 13. The former CFO talked about their visit while also ridiculing a feminist group, Colectiva Feminista. The group was outside the governor’s mansion and was never granted a meeting to discuss a gender violence crisis in the island that last year took the lives of 23 women.
“Residente and Bad Bunny > Colectiva?” CFO Sobrino said in the chat.
Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Martínez, recently said both he and Residente were drunk in Old San Juan and decided to visit Rosselló at 2:00 a.m. The governor welcomed them both. The artists then shared a picture of their meeting on Instagram.
On Wednesday morning, both singers released a song blasting Gov. Rosselló on YouTube. "Afilando los cuchillos" ("Sharpening the knives") slams Rosselló over the corruption scandal in his administration and what they called hatred-filled comments from him and the other 11 members of the chat, his closest allies.
Martínez was touring in Europe when the scandal first broke but the trap sensation since returned to Puerto Rico.
“I’m going to the island and I’d love if you join me and the people already in the streets. These people (the government) think we’re scared and we’ll demonstrate them that they’re wrong,” he tweeted.
The artist, born and raised in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, said on Sunday that he believes in forgiveness “but one thing is to forgive and another one to let them step on us.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actor and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of Broadway’s hit musical “Hamilton,” was indirectly mentioned in the chat early January when his show was rescheduled and relocated from the Theater of the University of Puerto Rico to the Centro de Bellas Artes in Santurce, a borough in San Juan. The "Hamilton" show in Puerto Rico was an effort to promote art and help the island in its recovery after Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
In the chat, former CFO Sobrino shared a news article announcing the cancellation of the show at the theater of the university, to which the governor replied with an angel emoji. Carlos Bermúdez, the governor’s former media consultant, then said “Operation RR,” appearing to insinuate the governor was behind the decision.
On Tuesday, Miranda shared an opinion piece by Puerto Rican journalist Julio Ricardo Varela on Twitter with the hashtag #RenunciaRossello (Rosselló, resign).
He said in another tweet on Wednesday that he plans to attend a protest in Union Square, in New York City, where the Puerto Rican diaspora will gather to call for Rosselló's resignation, too.
Lin-Manuel’s father Luis Miranda told NBC that “it’s sad [...] these were a bunch of teenagers claiming credit for something that, quite frankly, they had nothing to do with,” referring to the content related to "Hamilton" in the chat.
Luis Miranda said the producers of "Hamilton" in Puerto Rico decided to change the venue due to security reasons, primarily because the University's workers union was planning to protest because of the economic crisis that's hitting the public college. Furthermore, there’s a law that doesn’t permit the police to intervene in the campus, and that was enough cause for concern.
“Although we couldn’t stay there (at the University of Puerto Rico), to have been able to invest $1 million for the university to have a theater of top category [...] we’re proud of everything that we’ve done for the university, which has been the cornerstone of Puerto Rico’s development for many generations and it must be for generations to come, too,” he said.
Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted on Monday that “#HamiltonPR was a triumph. We did what we set out to do: raised 15 million for arts on the island, gave the tourism economy a boost—AND we rebuilt the UPR theater. While the governor and his buddies tried to claim some credit for it in their sad little chat.”
“And the bigger picture is this: the Hamilton falsehoods in these documents are a minor subplot in a far larger, very disturbing portrait of how this Administration operates,” Miranda said.