A months-long campaign by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the National Hispanic Media Coalition to protest the Liberman Broadcasting Inc. talk show "Jose Luis Sin Censura" has picked up steam, with two large companies agreeing to pull their commercials from the program.
The organizations said Thursday that Time Warner Cable and AT&T Inc. have withdrawn advertising from the show, which is produced in Burbank and runs on Liberman's Spanish-language EstrellaTV network, including on the network's flagship station, KRCA-TV Channel 62 in Los Angeles.
In addition, Miami station WSVN-TV Channel 7, owned by Sunbeam Television Corp., dropped the show from one of its digital channels.
One of the network's most popular daytime programs, "Jose Luis Sin Censura" has been described as an extreme version of a raunchy Spanish-language "Jerry Springer," complete with flying fists and hair-pulling brawls between guests and an occasional audience member. The audience at times chants anti-gay slurs at show participants.
"There are young people watching this program. It is this kind of content that gives teenagers, and even adults, the green light to use this language and act violently against gay and transgender people," GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said in an interview. "It is our hope that other advertisers and fair-minded broadcasters who are worried about these depictions will not support or air this show."
Liberman Broadcasting's chief operating officer, Winter Horton, said he has reached out to GLAAD and National Hispanic Media Coalition representatives to discuss their complaints. The two sides have scheduled a meeting for this month.
"We want to address their concerns," Horton said.
The privately held Burbank-based company has been expanding. It has added affiliate TV stations that carry its EstrellaTV network and increased the network's advertising revenue.
The company's 2010 revenue was $115.7 million, an increase of 13% over the previous year.
But the service is not without its detractors. A TV station in Wichita, Kan., dropped the network late last year after receiving complaints about its programming, including sex scenes in EstrellaTV's late-night fare.
In February, GLAAD and the National Hispanic Media Coalition filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, documenting what they found to be objectionable content in more than 20 episodes of "Jose Luis Sin Censura," including obscenities and anti-gay epithets.
"We have received a number of complaints about EstrellaTV, but this particular program is incredibly egregious," said Jessica Gonzalez, vice president of policy and legal affairs for the National Hispanic Media Coalition. "There is also violence against women, violence against members of the gay and lesbian community, obscenities and language that you would never hear on English-language television. The only reason this has gone on for as long as it has is because there aren't many Spanish speakers at the FCC."
An FCC spokesman said the matter was pending.