El Nuevo Herald Writer Resigns in Protest
El Nuevo Herald arts writer Jose Antonia Evora tendered his resignation to Miami Herald Media Company President Jesus Diaz, Jr. today -- just days before his 10th anniversary with the company -- saying that the newspaper "left him out in the cold" and that a recent article in the newspaper had shown him there was an "unsurmountable gap between my points of view and those of El Nuevo Herald's editors."
Evora explained that he was leaving the newspaper because it had published an interview with Spanish radio DJs Enrique Santos and Joe Ferrero on Wednesday. Those same two DJs, he explained in detail, had tormented him after he wrote a story that appeared in the newspaper about obscenity on their radio show last year.
The DJs, according to Evora, sang songs ("His article, I cleaned my ass with it/ the Herald is a yesterday's newspaper") on their show demeaning Evora and recorded a show at the Herald building after which they left a signed photo with the words, "Fuck you, Evora" with the newspaper's security guard. They also urged listeners to pester him, the writer alleges.
"During several days my voicemail at the newsroom was overflowed with messages, most of them insulting, and some threatening my life," Evora wrote in the English version of his resignation letter. "In two of the messages -- I have the tapes -- two male voices say: "You better be careful out there'' and
"You deserve I run you over with my truck''. My wife was then nursing our two months old baby girl, and the stress was so huge that she stopped being able to do it. All these events I informed my superiors at the time."
He wrote that he brought up the harassment to Herald general counsel Robert Beatty, who told him there was no legal case to be made against the DJs. When the laudatory interview of the DJs appeared in this week's Nuevo Herald calling Santos and Ferrero a "dynamic duo" and "local legends," Evora wrote that he initially felt "rage." He spoke with the reporter on the piece, Lena Hansen, who apologized to him. He spoke with his editor, Gloria Leal, as well. But in the end, he wrote that he felt there was no choice but to resign:
"I can't find any other way out to a profound and evident misunderstanding with my editors. As of now I have no clue as to where I will be able to find work. However, what it's totally clear for me is that the publication of Santos and Ferrero's interview opened an unsurmountable gap between my points of view and those of El Nuevo Herald's editors."
Below is the complete resignation letter -- in the somewhat flawed English version -- that Evora sent Diaz and other Herald executives and managers.
Jesus Diaz, Jr., president and publisher, The Miami Herald Media Company Robert Beatty, General Counsel, The Miami Herald Media Company Humberto Castell�, director, El Nuevo Herald Gloria Leal, associate director and Galeria editor, El Nuevo Herald
This Wednesday, under the title "El Vacilon renovado y por TV'' (A Renewed "El Vacilon'' Goes on TV), El Nuevo Herald's section "Sabores'' published on page 5D an interview by Lena Hansen with Enrique Santos and Joe Ferrero, whose program "El Vacilon de la Manana'' airs every morning from Monday to Friday
the local radio station El Zol 95, belonging to Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), owned by Raul Alarcon, Jr.
Only a year ago, three days after our paper ran my column "Apaga y vamos'' on obscenities on the radio (Viernes magazine, August 5, 2005), Santos and Ferrero urged their radio listeners to cancel El Nuevo Herald's subscriptions. Moreover, at least on two ocassions (Monday, August 8th, 2005, 7:36 a.m. and 9:44
a.m.), they instigated their audience to burn copies of the newspaper in the streets and in front of our building.
A parody of a popular song ("El periodico de ayer'', or "Yesterday's newspaper''), which Santos and Ferrero continuosly aired, literally reads (I apologize in advance, but in order to make it completely clear, this message includes quotes with obscene language):
"His article, I cleaned my ass with it/ the Herald is a yesterday's newspaper/ that nobody wants to read/ He [the columnist] has ofended the audience, Mami/ You have to repudiate him/ Analize his career, clean your ass with him."
That same week, both Santos and Ferrero came to our building with their remote control van. They aired live conversations with Herald's employees passing through the lobby, on whom they would later made references like: "They are cordial, not like Evora''. Before leaving the building, they left with the
security guard an autographed photo on which Santos had written: "Fuck you, Evora''.
In the program that aired on August 8, 2005, and with the voice of a ficticious character called "Elba, the smoker'', Santos repeatidly gave the Herald's phone number and said: "Call him [Evora] at that number and shit on his mother''.
During several days my voicemail at the newsroom was overflowed with messages, most of them insulting, and some threatenig my life. In two of the messages -I have the tapes-, two male voices say: "You better be careful out there'' and "You deserve I run you over with my truck''. My wife was then nursing our two months old baby girl, and the stress was so huge that she stopped being able to do it. All these events I informed my superiors at the time.
I had an informal conversation in the elevator with the company's counsel Robert Beatty soon after. I told him some details, but afterwards Humberto Castell� spoke with him about the issue and Beatty advised him that there was no case for a legal action against SBS.
Santos and Ferrero have never neither publicly nor privately apologized to El Nuevo Herald nor to me.
It's been profoundly demoralizing for me that my editors would published this Wednesday's interview as though nothing had happened. It was practically a humilliation. In the mentioned piece, Santos and Ferrero are portrayed like "the dynamic duo'' who broke taboos and as "local legends that are looking forward
to reinvent themselves in a new television spot''. When talking about themselves they say that "honesty has been a mayor concern for us''. The duo even pretend to lecture us: "The press tends to give more weight to a perception rather than a reality. We want to invert that''.
When I finished reading it Wednesday morning, my first reaction was rage. Lena Hansen was in the newsroom, I talked to her about it and she apologized. In order to analize the issue with total serenity, I thought I should calm down and got involved in the day's work. Before I left, I went to my editor's
office (Gloria Leal) and I communicated to her the immense discomfort that the interview had caused me. As I then explained her, I feel that the newspaper left me out in the cold in an unfinished debate; that inexplicably El Nuevo Herald overlooked flagrant aggresions against a member of its staff and the newspaper itself, and that later on it accepts to promote the agressors without demanding a retraction.
After careful consideration and much thought, I have decided that this episode forces me to resign. I do it with pain because I'm passionate about my work and because in a few days I would have had my 10 years anniversary with the company. But I can't find any other way out to a profound and evident misunderstanding with my editors. As of now I have no clue as to where I will be able to find work. However, what it's totally clear for me is that the publication of Santos and Ferrero's interview opened an insurmountable gap between my points of view and those of El Nuevo Herald's editors.
Jose Antonio Evora
cc. Howard Weaver - Vice President, News, The McClatchy Co.