A Mexican actor has caused a stir by calling the star of Oscar-nominated film Roma “a damn Indian.”
Sergio Goyri, a well-known telenovela (soap opera) actor, made the comment about indigenous Mixtec actress Yalitza Aparicio in a Mexico City restaurant, telling his dining companions that it was unthinkable that a “pinche india who only says sí señora, no señora [yes ma’am, no ma’am]” could be nominated for a best-actress Oscar.
The remark was audible in a video, which was posted to social media by Goyri’s girlfriend and quickly went viral.
Aparicio, who plays the role of domestic worker Cleo in Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white film, responded to the insult in a statement issued by her publicists.
“I’m proud of being an indigenous oaxaqueña [native of Oaxaca] and it saddens me that there are people who don’t know the correct meaning of the words,” she said.
Goyri later apologized to Aparicio in a video posted to his Instagram account, saying that he assumed full responsibility for the “unfortunate comments.”
“The only thing I want to say is that there was no any malice on my part,” Goyri said, adding that his remark was made in the “heat of the discussion.”
Nevertheless, he conceded, “I don’t have the right to offend anyone.”
Last night, Goyri offered another apology to the 25-year-old actress before he went into a Mexico City theater to watch a performance of the musical Cats.
However, he said he wouldn’t seek out Aparicio to offer her a face-to-face apology, explaining “I don’t think she’d be interested.”
Goyri also rejected any suggestion that he is racist and said he had learned his lesson – don’t use high-flown words and check if anyone is filming, although he explained that his girlfriend, Lupita Arreola, had transmitted the video by mistake.
But he also contradicted himself by again using the pinche expletive, which doesn’t only translate into English as damn. It can be a far more offensive term, depending on how it is used.
“. . . There was truly no malice on my part, it’s a comment that was made, it’s like if I’d said the pinche Chinaman or the pinche braid wearer . . . that’s the way men speak,” Goyri said.
He concluded by praising Cuarón for Roma, which has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards including best picture, as well as Aparicio for her performance.
“I saw her in the movie and afterwards I found out that she is a young girl who was chosen from her town [Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca] and they brought her [to Mexico City] without any acting training. It’s a double challenge for Alfonso . . .”
For Aparicio, it’s not the first time she has been caught up in a controversy involving her ethnicity.
The actress also set tongues wagging last month after she appeared in a promotional photograph with a lighter than usual skin tone.
Source: Milenio (sp)