March 12, 2018 [Leer en español]
Article updated on March 15
This past week, the man considered to be the number one television personality on Dominican television, Frederick Martínez, popularly known as El Pachá, sexually assaulted another woman on his television program, Pégate y gana con El Pachá. His latest victim is merengue legend Belkis Concepción, who in the eighties rose to fame as a member of the most legendary women’s merengue group, Las Chicas del Can.
For years, El Pachá has repeatedly assaulted women on Dominican television. El Pachá is presently employed by US-TV network Telemundo after swapping Univisión for Telemundo in 2013. On United States soil, El Pachá is well-behaved and portrays a different image. However, he constantly assaults victims on Dominican television; presently he travels weekly to the Dominican Republic, his sexual assault domain.
El Pachá Assaults Belkis Concepción and Brags About It
Belkis Concepción began to pursue legal action against the controversial television personality. Concepción noted:
“I have lived a very difficult situation these past few days. You can not imagine what it is like for me to relive that on network television. That is why we sent a statement rejecting his action ... no one has said that this was staged. If I remain silent on the matter, I am giving him approval for what he did, for that reason we made the complaint before the National District Attorney’s Office.”
Even after the kiss, El Pachá gloated about his assault while simultaneously being applauded and celebrated by the audience and crew members—such reactions, however, were most likely due to the shock of what just transpired.
While on air, Concepción told El Pachá to his face, “You are a violent man,” yet El Pachá and his complicit television crew brushed off this and other comments as mere jokes. El Pachá justified his actions when he responded saying, “I am aggressive…from the tip of my feet up to the top of my head. There is no woman who has been with me that will ever forget me.”
The crowd was in a frenzy after the encounter, while Concepción is visibly shocked by the ordeal and does not know how to react.
Sexual harassment and sexual assault are serious epidemics affecting our society. In the past few months several women and men have come forth naming some of their aggressors, giving much traction to the #MeToo (#YoTambién) movement. Amarilys Estrella, Dominican academic and activist, shared the following words with ESENDOM:
"This most recent case of sexual violence portrayed by El Pachá on national television highlights a larger endemic problem of violence against women in the country. It is heartening to see Belkis Concepción denounce El Pachá’s actions. El Pachá’s actions and the impunity with which he has carried on highlights what so many women have already been denouncing for years. If men in power are able to get away with this what do we think happens to women on a daily basis at their jobs, on the streets, in their homes? We need to condemn this behavior and hope to turn the tide against sexual and gender-based violence. We must hold the assailant and those complicit accountable for their actions. Many, if not, most women do not denounce their aggressors because their is no tangible protection from government agencies."
El Pachá Aggressively Kisses Fernandito Villalona
Belkis Concepción is not the first person to suffer sexual assault, bullying, or humiliation at the hands of El Pachá. Two decades back, prior to immigrating to the United States, El Pachá assaulted Fernando Villalona on national television by planting an aggressive kiss on the lips of Dominican Republic’s niño mimado. El Pachá was criticized by viewers and the media-alike but the episode was brushed off as a publicity stunt.
El Pachá Tries to Seduce Juliana
In 2017, El Pachá told merengue singer, Juliana “La Reina del Mambo” O’Neil, on his show that he wanted to make love to her.
Recurring Harassment of Ana Carolina
One particular celebrity that El Pachá regularly humiliates is television personality Ana Carolina. In one exchange, El Pachá quipped, “I cannot throw you out because I have yet to try you (insinuating that he wants to engage her in sexual intercourse)…that car (referring to her buttocks) has a parking garage” (insinuating that she works for and/or is sleeping with television personality Jesús Gil, which is not true). In a completely different television program, Carolina danced on a pole, yet such actions are no reason for another human being to put their hands on another nor does it entitle them to humiliate another person.
Dominican Media Is Given a Pass
El Pachá’s encounter with Concepción highlights a broader issue of celebratory sexual violence within Dominican television and Dominican society, both in the Caribbean nation and Dominican communities abroad.
In early 2012, television personality and failed merenguero Jesús Gil, also known as Masa, grabbed Mia Cepeda’s penis and touched her breasts on his television program. Cepeda is the most prominent transgender person in the Dominican Republic. Her television program, La Belleza es Mia, is possibly the most popular national program among teenagers and women pertinent to beauty. Cepeda is open about her sexuality and is often ridiculed because of her openness; although she too has forced herself onto men including singers Prince Royce and Juan Tavarez on her television program.
#MeToo in the Dominican Republic and Dominican Communities Abroad
Hopefully, Concepción’s braveness in filing charges against El Pachá will empower other women and men to come forward about sexual violence. For years now, these predators have assaulted countless people on Dominican television. El Pachás latest episode with his most recent victim, Belkis Concepción, could propel the #MeToo movement in the Dominican Republic. Seemingly, these sexual predators are so confident they will not be caught that they continue to assault victims on live television. These acts of sexual aggression are normalized and accepted by the major executives of Dominican television because these demoralizing acts help television personalities like El Pachá with ratings. Sensationalism coupled with the degradation of women that leads to sexual attacks and harassment as a form of entertainment should have no place in private spaces nor on national television. It is not only time to take action against these predators, but also against executives, producers, allies and others involved in the production and management of these programs. Hopefully, Concepción’s unfortunate experience spearheaded a much needed #metoo movement within the Dominican community.
Many respected Dominican institutions and organizations in the United States continue to work with El Pachá even after years of his blatant and well-documented sexual abuse. Some of these organizations include the different Dominican Day Parade committees, which have chosen El Pachá as its king or who have worked with him in other capacities. There are also those organizations that have hired him as master of ceremony including “La Gran Parrillada Liniera” in Paterson, New Jersey.
In 2017, El Pachá participated in a protest demanding that DirecTV and AT&T add the channel Televisión Dominicana to their programing, which had eliminated the channel. Several prominent Dominican figures participated and aligned themselves with El Pachá including the first Dominican-descended Congressman Adriano Espaillat, State Senator Jose Peralta, New York State Senator Marisol Alcántara, Assemblywoman Carmen de la Rosa, and Assemblyman Víctor Díaz. In addition to the aforementioned politicians, directors, presidents, and key figures of several organizations lent their support to El Pachá during this initiative.
Something most people do not know is that El Pachá is an ordained minister. In fact, in the late 2000's this author visited the ministries of the "Apostol" Dr. Ricardo Reyes, who not only had images of El Pachá as a member of his ministries, but who also confirmed that El Pachá was one of his ministers. El Pachá often uses the name of God in his programming, a mechanism he uses to shield his sexual assault.
If a change is to take place, key figures with a platform such as Espaillat, Peralta, Reyes will need to stop collaborating with El Pachá.
Because he has the support of so-called Dominican “movers and shakers” ranging from individuals in key positions to powerful institutions, it is probable that this is the main reason why none have bothered to call El Pachá out on his repeated and well-documented history of sexual violence against both men and women. These accomplices are as guilty as El Pachá due to their complicity. Perhaps some will begin to do so if Telemundo—El Pachá’s main employer in the United States—actually takes action against this serial sexual predator.
Merengue legend Johnny Ventura has provided El Pachá with advice and asked him to change his ways, yet the man who bills himself as the best locutor dominicano has proven time and again that he will never change his ways as ratings trump morality.