Univision Attacked For Recreating Pulse Massacre In TV News Special

Pulse owner Barbara Poma called the reenactment "shameful, just shameful.”

LGBT activists criticized Univision for reenacting the horrific attack on Orlando’s Pulse nightclub this weekend. On Saturday night’s episode of Crónicas De Sábado, a segment called “Baño De Sangre” (“Blood Bath”) presented a recreation of the June 12 mass shooting, using actors to portray the assailant and victims.

Red Huber, Getty Images

A petition called for a boycott of the Spanish-language network.

“Tell them enough is enough… Call the station and tell them we will not support them getting rich off of others’ pain and will not allow them to make up events and stories that never happened,” the appeal read in part. “Let the families and survivors heal.”

In addition, the Central Florida LGBTQ+ Alliance sent a letter to Isaac Lee, Univision’s chief content officer, asking him to cancel the segment. Survivors and others “are haunted by memories of the horror that unfolded,” it read. “Exposing us to reenactments of this tragedy can cause severe psychological damage and re-traumatize those struggling to move forward.”

Mourners gather inside the fence at Pulse nightclub at 2:02 a.m. - the time when the shooting started - on the six-month anniversary of the tragedy on Monday Dec. 12, 2016 in Orlando, Fla. (Christal Hayes/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Christal Hayes, Getty Images

The Alliance’s Carlos Carbonell told the Orlando Sentinel “to take our story and turn it into a sensationalist piece is unconscionable.”

And GLAAD said the clip “could be a traumatic experience for many who are trying to heal from this tragedy.”

But the network stood by its decision and the segment aired, though Univision did stop running the trailer. “It’s a journalistic project,” said communications VP Jose Zamora. “People are upset by a promo. That promo doesn’t represent the entire program.”

Zamora said reenactments are a regular part of Crónicas De Sábado and that producers spoke with victims and family members. “They participated in the project. It’s done in a journalistic way. It’s not entertainment. This is based on factual truth and the terrible events… it was with deep respect.”

Univision said in a statement that the segment was “deeply respectful of the many people whose lives were impacted by this tragedy and, at the same time, is faithful to the facts underlying this horrible crime.”

Pulse owner Barbara Poma said she was “sickened” by Univision’s decision, which she called “a sleazy attempt to shock and attract viewers [that] does nothing but re-terrorize the victims, their loved ones, and all who responded to help.”

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