Carlos Villagrán Faces Backlash After Appearing in Anti-Immigration Campaign As Quico

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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Carlos Villagrán, renowned in Mexico and Latin America for the character of Quico in El Chavo del Ocho, is facing backlash over a video for the U. S. Embassy. In it, the Mexican comedian appears as his character Quico and attempts to highlight the dangers of illegal immigration. 

Villagrán opens the video with his famous “cállense, cállense, cállense que me desesperan,” or “shut up, shut up, shut up, you’re driving me crazy” only to then add in Spanish “I have something very important to tell you, do not cross the border of the United States, because if you do your father, your mother, your uncle, the cat, the parakeet, they might all be in danger. Better to cross legally.”

But that’s not all. In another play on his famous Quico catchphrase, he finishes the video with the promise that if people do cross the border legally, well “si me simpatizas,” or he does like them.

Criticism for Villagrán was swift, with Instagram comments in Spanish that range from “this is cringeworthy” to “what a sad ad,” with someone even commenting in English that “if only Mexico or any Latin America (country) would do the same with American actors and discuss how coups and trade agreements made by US have made their country worse.”

Meanwhile, on Twitter, there were people wondering in Spanish “how to unsee something,” with some even commenting that Quico “was always pro imperialism.”

Whatever Carlos Villagrán – and the U. S. Embassy in Mexico – thought he could achieve with this ad, it seems like the only conclusion people are taking from it is that actors like Villagrán should “plan better for retirement,” or they’ll end up doing ads like this one to pay the bills.