Univision Suit: 'Piolin' Host Sues Former Colleagues for Extortion

Image: Univision Suit: 'Piolin' Host Sues Former Colleagues for Extortion

Tuesday, 27 Aug 2013 06:12 PM

By David Ogul

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In a suit against Univision, former radio star Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, whose hugely popular “Piolin por la Manana” show was canceled by the Spanish-language media behemoth last month, is suing six former employees of the company for extortion.

Sotelo claims the six and their Los Angeles lawyers tried to shake him down for nearly $5 million by threatening to go public with what he calls bogus allegations that include sexual harassment, according to a release from PRNewsWire.

The suit was filed Monday in Los Angeles (County) Superior Court in Santa Monica.

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The Los Angeles Times reported that an attorney representing Sotelo’s former colleagues will be filing their own suit against the radio star. John C. Taylor said Sotelo’s allegations were groundless.

“This lawsuit is a public relations ploy by Eddie Sotelo to deflect attention from the merits of the allegations of Sotelo’s harassing and abusive conduct towards six of his former co-workers,” Taylor told the Times. “The lawsuits speak for themselves and will be filed soon.”

Sotelo became a hit shortly after joining Univision in 2004 and used his “Piolin por la Manana” show to rally for immigrants rights. Although his broadcasts were peppered with humor, he once interviewed President Barack Obama and other politicians. He was seen as a hero by many in the Spanish-speaking community, who said Sotelo had given them a voice.

Univision never gave a reason why Sotelo’s show was canceled, but the Times reported that a call-screener and performer on the show complained to Univision that Sotelo created a hostile work environment and sexually harassed him.

Sotelo’s lawsuit says those being sued offered to keep quiet about their claims if Sotelo would pay them $4.9 million. It seeks damages “in an amount sufficient to punish defendants and to deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future.”

Sotelo emigrated from Mexico at the age of 16 and worked at menial jobs in nearby Orange County before rising to fame. He has signed a new deal with SiriusXM, which is said to be looking for a Spanish-language version of Howard Stern.

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Related stories:

'Piolin' Cancellation on Univision Radio Shocks Fans of Show

Univision is Numero Uno in Prime Time in Key Demos in July

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