Denise De La Cruz just graduated from California State University, Fullerton’s College of Communications.
At her ceremony, the commencement speaker was María Elena Salinas, an award-winning Univision journalist and news anchor. As a witness to the speech, De La Cruz wrote a first-person story about it for OC Weekly, reporting that Salinas got booed for speaking Spanish and criticizing Trump. The story went viral and De La Cruz has been paying the price.
De La Cruz is the clubs editor at OC Weekly, the largest alternative outlet in Orange County. Following her story, she discovered she’d been evicted from the private Facebook page of the college’s Latino Communications Initiative – she’d brought shame to the college, complained her fellow students and some professors.
Univision is one of three official sponsors of the Latino Communications Initiative.
Next Salinas took to her column on Univision to defend her commencement speech by attacking the 23-year-old's version of events, saying that she hadn't been aware of the audience response De La Cruz reported on and criticizing her for describing the speech as “Latino-centric” and “blatantly anti-Trump.”
I never considered my speech to be 'bold,'" Salinas wrote, "and had no clue there had been a 'backlash.’”
Here's Salinas' speech:
Much of Salinas’ column refers to Twitter exchanges between herself and De La Cruz. Salinas contacted the OC Weekly edito asking about the story, particularly about the Trump comments.
According to the anchor, De La Cruz responded, "I believe I got that from the sentence about how we use technology to report what candidates really said, which then could imply using the tools of media/technology to rebut candidates such as Trump."
Salinas wrote about that explanation, “In other words, she did not report what I said, but what she thought I was implying. What people read is her interpretation of what I said.”
According to OC Weekly, the two women also had a private conversation before the Salinas column was published, which the paper claims to have copies of, that show Salinas saying to De La Cruz, “I have been asked to write a column about what happened, but I don’t like grandstanding.”
Salinas published her column about the controversy about the speech a few days later.
The column ends with Salinas saying she’s proud to share her Latina cultural heritage with De La Cruz, and quoting one of the younger woman's Twitter messages: “'Mi papá loved your speech by the way,' [De La Cruz] told me. 'It was nice for him to be addressed in his language.'"
Salinas ends with “De nada, Denise.”