Actor and radio personality Gary Craig moved quickly to respond to a firestorm of criticism ignited Monday when city officials and Latino leaders lambasted as unacceptable and degrading his video about last weekend’s Hartford Latino Fest.
The video shows Craig at the Hartford Latino Fest visiting the Hartford riverfront and finding what he called “parallel universe,” make some rude comments, and yelling, “Help!”
One of the first to react to the video, Hartford City Councilman Julio A. Concepcion posted on Twitter a copy of the video and the tweet, “Apparently degrading Hartford’s Latino population is acceptable.”
Informed of the reaction to video, Craig said, “I am sorry to hear it,” Craig said Monday afternoon about the video which appeared on his and the 96.5 TIC-FM Facebook pages as well as on Youtube and the station’s webpage. He said he had no intention of offending anybody and was “just having some fun.
“I will take it down,” Craig said.” A few hours later, the video was no longer on either Facebook page, an attempt to link to the radio station’s webpage, 965tic.cbslocal.com, the notation “Page not found” appeared. A copy of the video post on YouTube also had disappeared by mid-afternoon.
The radio station website — 965tic.cbslocal.com — had featured the video in a post titled, “Gary Craig: Accidental Tourist at Hartford Latino Fest.”
One part of the video has Craig walking up to a vending stand that is decked with Puerto Rican flags, which he mistakes as Cuban flags. The comedian says he does not have to make a planned trip to broadcast from Havana and starts singing the “I Love Lucy” theme song. The co-star of the iconic television comedy is the late Desi Arnaz, who was from Cuba.
I was just going for laughs,” Craig said.
However, in a press release from the Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Concepcion said, “Whether made in jest or not, his racist undertones are absolutely inexcusable and should be condemned by his employer.”
Mayor Bronin commented, “Gary Craig’s video is repulsive and bizarre.” He also said, “I was at the riverfront Saturday afternoon, and the festival was everything I love about our city: people of all different backgrounds coming together at our beautiful riverfront to celebrate the dance, music and food of one of our largest and most vibrant cultural communities here in Hartford. CBS Local Media, the owner of 96.5 TIC FM, should get this trash off of their website.”
Other comments about the video contained in the mayor’s press release include:
“The derogatory comments made by Mr. Craig were point blank disgusting,” said City Council President T.J. Clarke. “There is absolutely no way these comments can be justified. For anyone to mention they walked into some ‘parallel universe’ while people were celebrating their culture at last weeks’ Latino Fest needs a quick reality check on how culturally diverse this city is. I expect a public apology from Mr. Craig and the management staff of the radio station to the City of Hartford and organizers and members of the Latino community.”
“I’m appalled by this racist behavior,” said State Representative Angel Arce. “The radio station needs to apologize to the community and take this video down immediately.”
The station has not responded to requests for a statement from CTLatinoNews.com.