Mario Kreutzberger, aka Don Francisco, served as host of Sábado Gigante since the show's debut in 1962.
The first ad for an early episode of the show that would later become Sabado Gigante.
The 53-year-old show Sabado Gigante
was to Latino American families what no other TV program was, but its ‘humor’ perpetuated outdated racial and gender divides.
Aura Bogado writes about the show's legacy, and its end, in the Guardian:
One of the Sábado Gigante’s best-known segments, for instance, is Miss Colita (roughly translated, it means Miss Ass); a pageant in which women parade around the stage in thongs while Don Francisco comments and audience members vote for their favorite buttocks. Miss Colita contestants willingly sign up for the segment – but also have to cope with Don Francisco’s constant ogling and groping.
But it’s not just Miss Colita contestants who are objectified by Don Francisco on Sábado Gigante: the host also picks women out from the audience – grabbing women of all ages and body types by the hand, wrist, elbow or waist – and comments on their bodies. I don’t know that any woman ever directly rejected Don Francisco’s physical prodding on an aired episode of Sábado Gigante – but he was sued for sexual harassment by a cast member (it was settled out of court).
And, when he’s not busy groping women the show regularly uses little people as caricatures, employs exaggerated gay characters for laughter and regularly fat-shames people – including children.
When it comes to blatantly racist portrayals, the show’s mockery of indigenous peoples in the Americas is profoundly demeaning. Sábado Gigante’s interracial sketches illustrate the stubborn inequity among Latinos in the Americas: although we share a geographic region, Latinos are not one race of people. There are black, indigenous, white, Asian and mixed Latinos who are all subjected to a racial hierarchy – an order that Sábado Gigante doesn’t challenge. As a Latina who’s also indigenous, I connect with the show’s use of the Spanish language yet strongly reject the way that indigenous peoples are portrayed.
"Latinos outgrew Sábado Gigante's racism and misogyny long before it ended" [Guardian: Comment is Free]
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