'Kingpin' TV Show Draws Fire From Latinos
Tue Feb 4, 5:43 AM ET
By LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES - "Kingpin," a new TV drama about a drug cartel run by a Mexican family, was criticized by a civil rights group as a slap against Hispanics that will reinforce prejudices.
The League of United Latin American Citizens said Monday it was "very disappointed with NBC's decision" to air the series, which premiered Sunday.
"'Kingpin,' which portrays Hispanics as drug dealers, murderers and unpatriotic American citizens, opens the door to more negative feelings toward Latinos in our community," the group said in a statement.
The network had no immediate comment, a spokeswoman said Monday.
Measured concerns about "Kingpin" were voiced by Lisa Naverrete of the National Council of La Raza, another civil rights organization.
"I'm not comfortable with making a final judgment on the show after seeing just one episode," Naverrete said Monday.
While lauding the employment opportunity "Kingpin" offers for Hispanic actors and writers, she questioned why the only Latino-themed drama on network TV should be about what she called the "cliche" of drug dealers.
"There are no balancing images" showing Hispanics in another light, Naverrete said. "If it was one of several shows on TV about Latinos, I wouldn't have such concerns."
The heavily promoted "Kingpin" focuses on Miguel Cadena (Yancey Arias), a Stanford-educated Mexican angling to head his extended family's drug-trafficking operation while grappling with guilt over his criminal activities.
A Spanish-dubbed version of the series will air on NBC-owned Telemundo in March, while a racier edition is planned for the Bravo cable channel, also owned by NBC.