As thousands of people fill the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, on Monday refused to resign over leaked text messages that were laced with sexist, homophobic and derogatory remarks that went so far as to ridicule victims of Hurricane Maria.
The San Juan protests have put an international spotlight on the texting scandal, which has been dubbed “Chatgate” and “Rickygate,” but what exactly did Ricardo Rossello say to fuel the outrage?
Ricardo Rossello leaked texts: What did he say?
Nearly 900 pages of exchanges leaked and published by The Center for Investigative Journalism showed inflammatory remarks in a group text between Rossello and his inner circle. In the texts, Rossello spews hate about NYC Councilor Melissa Mark-Viverito, calling her a “wh-re,” and describes another female politician as “daughter of a b-tch.” In one text thread about the management of Puerto Rico’s financial crisis, Rossello wrote, “Dear oversight board, go f— yourself” followed by several of middle finger emojis. In another conversation, Puerto Rico’s former chief fiscal officer Christian Sobrino Vega expressed frustration with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and said he wanted to shoot her.
“You’d be doing me a grand favor,” Rossello responded.
In one particularly unsettling exchange, Rossello made fun of the victims of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017, killing more than 3,000 people. Sobrino Vega, the former chief financial officer, made a joke about the number of bodies in the aftermath of Maria. Rossello responded, “Now that we are on the subject, don’t we have some cadavers to feed our crows?”
Ricardo Rossello vulgar comments about Ricky Martin
Rossello ridiculed Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin for his homosexuality.
“Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin,” he wrote.”Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he f—s men because women don’t measure up. Pure patriarchy.”
Martin has called for Rossello’s immediate resignation and has been a vocal leader in Puerto Rico’s protests.
“They mocked our dead, they mocked women, they mocked the LGBT community, they made fun of people with physical and mental disabilities, they made fun of obesity. It’s enough. This cannot be,” Martin said in a video on Twitter.
As of Monday, Rossello had refused to resign his post.