After last week’s abrupt revelation that Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo and Univision Communications had parted ways and that Sotelo’s popular show "Piolín por la Mañana" had been canceled, new revelations have surfaced through the Los Angeles Times that the radio host may have been pushed out due to harassment accusations by a male staff member.
Alberto "Beto" Cortez, a writer, producer and performer on Sotelo’s radio program, alleged that the host was "physically, sexually and emotionally harassing" him for a three-year period ending this January.
In addition to the harassment charge, Cortez alleged that Sotelo had staff falsify letters in support of his immigration campaign for reform.
The report says when Sotelo’s campaign for 1 million letters for immigration reform came up short, Cortez was asked to copy other letters to make it appear as if they had received a million letters.
In documents obtained by the Times, Cortez claimed that Sotelo made repeated aggressive and unwanted sexual advances, including grabbing Cortez's buttocks and genitals when Cortez would arrive at work.
Cortez says Sotelo taunted him during staff meetings, calling him a derogatory term for a homosexual, and told to identify himself as gay.
"I have also spoken to former employees of the show who witnessed much of the harassment described herein," Clayton wrote in his letter to the Univision executives. "They too have either been subjected to or heard of Sotelo's misconduct, threats, and the retaliation he has taken against employees who have spoken out against him."
Clayton’s letter added: "Because Sotelo was the cash-cow at Univision (rated number one in multiple markets and with the highest ad revenues), Univision turned a blind eye to Sotelo's inappropriate and unlawful conduct. In doing so, Univision violated the company's own written employment policies."
While Univision and Sotelo are keeping quiet, Sotelo’s attorney issued a statement.
"A disgruntled, troubled employee has made malicious and false claims about Eddie Sotelo," Jeffrey Spitz, Sotelo’s attorney, said in a statement. "This was done as part of a demand for money.... The employee worked with Eddie for more than a decade. The employee's allegations of harassment and falsification of immigration letters are pure fiction intended to gain a financial settlement."
Sotelo, who has been called the Spanish-language Howard Stern, drew many big-name celebrities. But his show grew in prominent and influence when he landed President Barack Obama in 2010, and later First Lady Michelle Obama. He interviewed Obama three times.
The show was unlike anything heard in English radio, a madhouse format that often surprised the audience with wacky voices and sometimes blaring blow horns.
Sotelo’s show reached 3.5 million people every morning. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last June.
A native of the Mexican state of Jalisco, Sotelo arrived in the United States as a teenager without working papers.
He is widely credited with using his program to urge his listeners to turn out for the massive pro-immigration-reform marches that took place in Los Angeles and other cities in the mid-2000s.