Latino Organizations Demand Apology From Kennedy Center President

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Thirty national Latino organizations are demanding an apology from Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser. According to Fox News Latino, Kaiser allegedly swore at Felix Sanchez, the chairman for the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, after a phone call was made from Sanchez to Kaiser regarding the lack of Latino artists being named as Kennedy Center honorees. 

According to reports, Kaiser told Sanchez to "go f*** yourself" and then abruptly hung up. 

"Of course, they have no good answer and so it was easy to get infuriated and to simply dismiss me and my criticism of the Kennedy Center honors,” Sanchez said. “Rather than consider that there is no answer, that there is no defense because the actions are indefensible, he resorted to profanity and hanging the phone up on me."

Latino organizations see this as completely disrespectful, and are calling attention to it with their demand.

"There is no excuse for Mr. Kaiser’s outburst and it should not and cannot be tolerated,” Janet Murguia, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, said in a statement sent to Fox News Latino. “He profoundly disrespected our colleague Felix Sanchez and the Latino community, a community that merits inclusion and fairness, not insults, when it comes to one of the nation’s highest cultural honors."

Kaiser told the Washington Post that he regretted using "strong language." He continued: “I’ve spent much of the last 20 years working with organizations of color in this country–African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American...," Kaiser said. "This is a real part of who I am, and so when someone insinuates that I am a racist, it gets me really upset.”

Sanchez says Kaiser has yet to contact him directly after the incident. During Kaiser's 12 years as President of the Kennedy Center, only two Hispanic figures have been given the honor -- Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and Puerto Rican performer Chita Rivera. Kaiser told the Post, "There will be more."

Sanchez hopes the attention moves the center to reevaluate the selection process.

“When you have a secretive process you get this kind of outcome,” said Sanchez. “We have to shed some sunlight in the selection process and that means giving the responsibility to the Kennedy Center board, which is presidentially elected. And the White House has to be involved and engaged in the selection process as well."

What do you think of Kaiser's outburst? Is all of the attention unwarranted? How should the Kennedy Center choose its honorees? Share in the comments!

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