Family arguments

Peruvians take offence at sitcom gag

Sky One sitcom Modern Family has sparked a diplomatic incident, after making a joke about Peruvians.

The nation’s former Prime Minister Beatriz Merino has demanded an explanation from the American ambassador, after her compatriots took offence a gag in the top-rated US comedy.

However, the dialogue – between Jay, played by Ed O'Neill, and his Colombian wife Gloria, played by Sofia Vergara – appears to mock anyone for holding stereotypes.

During an argument Jay states: ‘Now, maybe in Colombia...’

But he is interrupted by his wife saying: ‘Ah, here we go… Because, in Colombia, we trip over goats and we kill people in the street. Do you know how offensive that is? Like we're Peruvians!’

When the line sparked criticism on the internet, 38-year-old Vergara – who is Colombian – tweeted in Spanish: ‘Get a life!!!!!!’

However, Harvard-educated Merino – who now holds the public position of Defender Of The People in Peru – has stepped into the row.

‘No country should have to be offended,’ she said, revealing that she is seeking an explanation from the US ambassador.

Milagros Lizarraga, who runs a community website for Peruvians in Southern California with 1,000 member said: ‘It's incredible that in a country where everything is politically correct, ABC would have a line of this sort.’

And she said Vergara must have agreed with the line otherwise she would have refused to say it.

ABC, which airs the sitcom in the States, has not yet commented on the row.

Published: 31 Oct 2010

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