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Anonymous threats, suits for torturers and blow jobs: The explosive allegations of Don Francisco’s unauthorized biographer

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Anonymous threats, suits for torturers and blow jobs: The explosive allegations of Don Francisco’s unauthorized biographer

It wasn’t that long ago that we thought we had bidden adieu forever to Don Francisco and his decades-long, sad TV circus. But as you probably know (if you are like us and pay attention to these things), his retirement was shorter than the time we spent considering respecting Mitt Romney: he came back shortly after on Univision’s arch-enemy Telemundo, just to show he could continue doing sad, unimaginative TV for many years to come. At this point, calling him “the Fidel of Latino TV” is not that much of a stretch. But I digress.

While all of this was happening, Chilean journalist Laura Landaeta published her unauthorized biography of this “gigante,” titled simply Don Francisco. In a surprise to no one, since its publication in February the book has was largely ignored by mainstream media both in Chile —where Don Francis has powerful ties to corporations and networks, through personal investments and his involvement in the millions-moving Teletón— and in the Latino Hollywood. (That would be Miami, in case you were wondering.)

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Which is shame for people like us, always in the look for the naked truth behind our great Latino forefathers. According to an interview with Chilean website El Ciudadano that was published around the time the book was launched but just caught our curious eyes, there are many, um, gigante stories surrounding the book and our favorite TV creepy uncle:

  • Landaeta says Don Francisco would regularly pick women from his show’s audience to bring them to his dressing room and give him blow jobs in exchange for some of the prizes he had at his disposal. Like a fridge.
  • The many roadblocks she encountered in the years she researched the book included anonymous phone calls insulting her and warning her not to mess with the TV personality.
  • These threats were not new to Landaeta: in her interview, she recalls her first encounter with Don Francisco. She was working for Chilean magazine Qué Pasa, and shortly after writing a story on the sexual harassment suit a former Sábado Gigante model had filed against the TV host, she was assigned to interview him. She recalls being invited Don Francisco to get on her car and give her the interview while he drove to his countryside house, only to be insulted by Don Francisco for writing about his sexual harassment conflict, telling her not to mess with him, and dropping her at the entrance of his countryside property, far away from the city or a bus station. “He has an incredible skill to instill fear in you,” the reporter said.
  • Landaeta also claims to have found out that department store Johnson’s, one of the stable sponsors of Sábados Gigantes in Chile, gave suits and clothing for free to the agents of DINA, the sinister intelligence agency of the Pinochet administration, thanks to the relationship of “mutual benefit” between Don Francisco and the head of DINA, convicted human rights criminal Manuel Contreras.

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We haven’t gotten our hands on a copy of the Landaeta book, but we can’t wait to do it. We’ll let you know when we do.

In the meantime, you can watch full episodes of Don Francisco Te Invita here.

At your own risk, that is.

 

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