When nationally-syndicated radio personality Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo abruptly left his popular show, “Piolin por la Manana,” in July, fans in Los Angeles and around the country were left wondering what happened. Both Sotelo and his employer, the Spanish-language network Univision, issued brief public statements that gave no explanation. However, according to The Los Angeles Times the departure involves accusations of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior towards members of his staff.
The Los Angeles Times obtained a letter to Univision sent in April of this year by the attorney for a man who was a producer, writer, and performer on the show. The man accused the host of physical, sexual, and emotional harassment. According to the letter, the harassment lasted for three years, until last January, when he left on medical leave due to the hostile work environment.
The letter outlines a number of instances of inappropriate actions. Allegedly, Sotelo repeatedly pressed the man to say that he was gay, and referred to him and to the man’s girlfriend in inappropriate and derogatory terms. It also asserts that Sotelo ordered people on his production team to falsify letters for him to take to Congress in support of immigration reform when he failed to reach his goal of getting a million letters.
In the letter to Univision, the attorney said that if the network could not reach a settlement with his client, he would file a lawsuit, which would make the accusations public. According to the letter, other employees working on the show had also experienced or witnessed harassment, threats, and retaliation. It accused Univision of being aware of the conduct, but failing to take action because the radio personality had the highest-rated show in valuable markets, including Los Angeles. The show also attracted high-profile names in entertainment and politics, including President Obama.
Sotelo’s attorney denied the allegations, and claimed that they were made only to get money. It has not been reported whether the employee is going forward with the lawsuit, or if he has reached any sort of financial agreement with Univision. Nonetheless, those who has experienced harassment at work needs to report it to their superiors, and, if appropriate action is not taken, they should contact an attorney who specializes in employment law.
The Los Angeles Times, “‘Piolin’ Sotelo, Univision parting follows harassment allegations” Reed Johnson and Meg James, Jul. 29, 2013