Alberto “Beto” Cortez, the former Univision Radio employee whose internal sexual harrasment complaint against Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo became public after an LA Times report, spoke today for the first time since the scandal broke.
He says statements Sotelo made about him made in an interview to Telemundo that aired last week during the network’s show “Al Rojo Vivo” are false.
In that interview, Sotelo, who vehemently denies he ever sexually harassed anyone, called a group of his former Univision Radio co-workers liars, traitors and extortionists.
Those statements made Cortez come forward today to respond to those accusations. “Piolín came out saying I’m a traitor, a liar and a bad friend. That’s why I’m defending myself.”
“I never spoke publicly about what Piolín did to me and to other people on the show. I reported his actions to my employer, who investigated what I said, and later, for some reason, they canceled the show,” he says. “Eddie Sotelo called me a traitor and a liar and that I conspired with others to make these accusations to seek money…. None of that is true…. Eddie Sotelo isn’t the person people know through radio and television.”
Cortez’s attorney Robert R. Clayton sent an April 16 complaint letter to Roberto Llamas, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer of Univision Communications and Jose Valle, President of Univision Radio alleging that “Piolín” had been “physically, sexually and emotionally harassing” his client over a 3-year period ending last January. Among the claims, that Sotelo repeatedly made aggressive and unwanted sexual advances, including grabbing his buttocks and genitals, taunting him during staff meetings and calling him by a derogatory term for a homosexual.
During last week’s Telemundo interview, Sotelo said he was surprised at the accusations and that he didn’t harass anyone. He insisted his program was based on comedy and jokes and that everyone knew that’s all it was.
Univision Radio abruptly eliminated “Piolín por la mañana” on the afternoon of July 22 and Sotelo exited the company. The sexual harassment claims surfaced a week later. Cortez says he has no idea how the Times got access to documents he thought were confidential.
Days later, another former co-worker, Betty Velasco, came forward to defend Cortez and revealed Piolín also subjected her to verbal abuse and inappropriate behavior, including urinating in front of her in the radio booth, prompting her to report him to HR.
In August, Sotelo filed a lawsuit against 6 former co-workers, alleging civil extortion and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit claims they banded together to “shake him down” for nearly $5 million, threatening to go public with “false and misleading allegations of sexual harassment and workplace humiliation.”
Cortez didn’t want to comment on the lawsuit, but pointed out that he wasn’t named as a defendant.
“I want to make sure everyone knows I never teamed up with my former co-workers. I was never part of a plot.”