By Meg James
1:18 PM PDT, August 6, 2013
Former Univision Radio star Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo says he is a victim of a smear campaign being waged against him by former performers on his once-popular program "Piolín por la Mañana."
"For the past week, I have remained silent as some former disgruntled Univision employees have made false accusations about me," Sotelo said in a statement released this week. "I did not want to dignify their lies by responding. But enough is enough."
Until two weeks ago, Sotelo hosted the nationally syndicated "Piolín por la Mañana" radio program, which aired in Los Angeles on Univision Radio's KSCA-FM (101.9) and about 50 stations from coast to coast.
An influential voice in Spanish-language media, Sotelo was seen as a leading advocate for Mexican immigrants -- drawing such high-profile guests to his show as President Obama.
Last week, The Times reported, Univision Communications severed ties with Sotelo on July 22 after a performer on Sotelo's radio show, Alberto "Beto" Cortez, lodged allegations with Univision management that Sotelo had sexually harassed him. Sotelo was Cortez's supervisor, and denies the allegations.
Since then, other former Univision employees have stepped forward to paint a picture of a locker-room atmosphere that was tolerated by Univision because Sotelo's program was financially lucrative.
Univision has declined to comment.
Sotelo maintains that Cortez -- who was the call screener on the radio show -- came forward with the allegations in an attempt to negotiate a financial settlement."During the past 14 years, I helped my friend Beto Cortez through a number of difficult periods in his life and have been very generous to him," Sotelo said in the statement distributed by a representative of his attorney.
"It saddens me that [Cortez] has resorted to making baseless claims in an attempt to obtain an undeserved financial windfall," Sotelo said in the statement.
Cortez's attorney was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
In an article published late last week by the Spanish-language La Opinion, another former on-air performer, Betty Velasco, also alleged that Sotelo created a hostile work environment at Univision's studios.
Sotelo's representatives have had talks with other radio companies about Sotelo bringing his show to a new station, preferably in Southern California, according to sources of The Times who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In his statement this week, Sotelo hinted a new job might be on the horizon.
"I have received an outpouring of unconditional support from my listeners and fans," Sotelo said. "I am very thankful for their thoughts, their prayers and their encouragement. I plan to be back on radio very soon and will continue to work hard to keep your loyalty and trust. Stay tuned!''
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