Organizers of the National Puerto Rican Day parade have severed all marketing and advertising ties with the New York Daily News after the tabloid refused to apologize for running a photo of two scantily clad women in Times Square holding a Puerto Rican flags with the words "Borricua" and "Pto Rico" painted on their behinds.
"The publication of a photo, featuring two topless women wearing G-Strings with Puerto Rico-related slogans painted on their bodies, and an erroneous claim by the newspaper that the image was taken at the Parade on Fifth Avenue has caused major outrage across the Puerto Rican community and beyond," Lorraine Cortés-Vazquez, the board director of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Inc., wrote in a letter to the Daily News.
The photo, which ran in the newspaper on Monday, shows the women – one of whom is Colombian, the other Venezuelan – walking through Times Square, which was not on the parade route. The photo was accompanied by the headline "Rear View on Parade."
In light of the New York Daily News’ refusal to apologize for the photo, the parade’s organizers have told the paper to cease using the parade’s name or logotype to promote their Spanish-language site VIVA or any other publications as well in marketing and community outreach.
"We are honored to work with partners who respect human dignity and who have the highest regard for the Puerto Rican and Latino community," Cortés-Vazquez said. "We recognize everyone makes mistakes, and we work with partners who have the strength of character to recognize and correct them; particularly when those mistakes are damaging to families and communities. Since you have opted otherwise, we will no longer partner with the Daily News, now and in the future, until you take corrective action."
Along with the letter to the Daily News, the parade organizers held protests outside the newspaper’s offices on Tuesday and Wednesday.
New York Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez said the controversy surrounding the photo has detracted from the 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 Peña," she said in a statement, according to DNAinfo. "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."
This is not the first time the newspaper has run afoul of the parade of the parade or the city’s Puerto Rican community.
In 2012, the publication prominently featured the Cuban flag on a Puerto Rican Day Parade advertisement, behind the image of New York Giants wide receiver, Victor Cruz. The Cuban flag has blue and white stripes with a white star inside of a red triangle, while the Puerto Rican flag features red and white stripes and a white star inside of a blue triangle.