Spanish-language radio host Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo has been accused of sexual harassment, less than a week after his highly popular show was mysteriously yanked off the air by Univision (NYSE:UVN).
According to the Los Angeles Times, the allegations were brought by Alberto "Beto" Cortez, a writer, producer and on-air performer for Piolin’s nationally syndicated “Piolin por la Manana” morning radio show. In a letter to executives at Univision, Cortez's lawyer Robert R. Clayton claims Sotelo was “physically, sexually and emotionally harassing” Cortez over three years ending in January.
The letter alleges that Sotelo repeatedly made inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances, including grabbing Cortez’s buttocks and genitals at work, according to the LA Times. Sotelo also reportedly hurled verbal insults at Cortez during staff meetings.
"I have also spoken to former employees of the show who witnessed much of the harassment described herein," Clayton wrote. "They too have either been subjected to or heard of Sotelo's misconduct, threats and the retaliation he has taken against employees who have spoken out against him."
"Because Sotelo was the cash-cow at Univision (rated number one in multiple markets and with the highest ad revenues), Univision turned a blind eye to Sotelo's inappropriate and unlawful conduct,” Clayton added. “In doing so, Univision violated the company's own written employment policies."
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In addition to the sexual harassment claims, the letter also alleges that Sotelo ordered Cortez to falsify letters when a petition in support of immigration reform fell short of the goal of 1 million signatures.
The letter goes on to suggest that Univision reach a settlement with Cortez, or “the matter would become public,” according to the Times.
In response, Sotelo’s lawyer Jeffrey Spitz has issued a statement. "A disgruntled, troubled employee has made malicious and false claims about Eddie Sotelo," Spitz said. "This was done as part of a demand for money. .... The employee worked with Eddie for more than a decade. The employee's allegations of harassment and falsification of immigration letters are pure fiction intended to gain a financial settlement."
Last week, Univision abruptly announced that Sotelo’s popular morning show -- syndicated nationally to more than 50 stations, according to the Los Angeles Times -- was coming to an end. "After a 10-year run, Sotelo and Univision have agreed to part company," Univision said.
“It’s been a great run with Univision,” Sotelo added in his own statement.