Entertainment

Lagordiloca Has Been Reporting On Local News For Years But Now She’s Under Fire For #FakeNews

Lagordiloca is a controversial amateur reporter from Laredo, Texas. Lagordiloca, whose name is an alias that’s a play on la gorda loca or “crazy fat lady,” has become a local and internet celebrity. Lagordiloca goes out into the mean streets of Texas with nothing but her wits and phone camera to tell local news stories of car crashes, shootings, and other violent crimes.

In a way, Lagordiloca is providing a service that is much needed in a time when checks and balances on the government seem nonexistent. The United States has a shrinking journalism industry, stripped of resources, talent, and staff. When local news is less prevalent, democracy doesn’t function as well. 

“Legislators tend to better represent their districts when the media provides better coverage of those constituents. Weaker news coverage also results in a less engaged citizenry, and one that’s less knowledgeable about politics,” according to Seth Masket of Pacific Standard

However, operating independently of a news organization has led to criminal charges against her and after misreporting some details, even fans are wondering: is Lagordiloca a fraud? 

Lagordiloca: News on the move.

Long before she was Lagordiloca, she was Priscilla Villarreal. Villarreal is 34, a high school drop out with a rap sheet, and has no formal journalism training. Her reports are a mix of local gossip, commentary, Spanglish, and news from the frontlines of local scandals. 

It all began one night when she stumbled upon police responding to a hostage situation at a home in the south side. Two girls were trapped inside. Villarreal started filming as officers carried the girls out. Her video clips had almost a million views within hours. 

“She’s already something of a folk hero down there,” said Daxton Stewart, a journalism professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth told the New York Times. “What’s fascinating is that she’s doing it the old-fashioned way, but with new technologies, by breaking news the authorities just don’t want out there.”

Villarreal is known for driving around in her old dodge pickup truck and broadcasting live from the scene of a crime. Her bilingual videos add some much-needed representation to video news, and her status as an ordinary woman makes her feel accessible to anyone. With over 135,000 followers on Facebook, people all over the world want to know her take on crime. 

The cops aren’t big fans of Lagordiloca, but should we be? 

Laredo, Texas has become a hotbed of corruption. A hero was needed, but just as with any vigilante, Lagordiloca exists in an ethical grey area.

“Suburban moms on the upscale north side discussed her posts at a recent country club luncheon. In a region notorious for corruption and a city where local politicians have been under investigation by the FBI, many see her as someone they can trust,” writes Molly Hennesy-Fiske for the Los Angeles Times

However, Villareal has done some questionable things. She posted the name of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture supervisory who died by suicide. Information that their loved ones might have wanted private. Nevertheless, the name was leaked to her by a police officer who was later placed on leave for the incident. 

Last summer, she told her viewers of police chatter that their might be a gas shortage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Drivers flooded gas stations causing a ruckus. She told fans a man planned to kill children at a local school, sending parents in a panic to retrieve their children, but the man had already been detained. 

In a world with a lot of misinformation, while Villarreal’s intentions might be just, the clumsiness of citizen reporting can be pretty damaging. 

Police press charges against Lagordiloca. 

Noticias de Última de hora!! (Laredo,Tx) A woman was transported to a local hospital after being hit by a vehicle by Springfield between Locust and Plum. Driver of the vehicle that hit her fled the scene. No word of the condition of the woman at this moment…. #LaGordiLoca

Posted by Lagordiloca News LaredoTx on Saturday, January 13, 2018

In 2017, Villarreal was charged with two counts misuse of official information, which is a third-degree felon, after leaking the Customs and Border supervisor’s name. The charges were later dismissed by a judge. In another incident, Villarreal posted accusations that a daycare center was abusing children. The daycare sued for defamation and received a judgment of $300,000 in damages when Villarreal didn’t show up for court. 

“The case made me even more well-known in Laredo, and more sources talk to me now,” Villarreal told the New York Times. “But I remain scared, and who I’m most scared of here aren’t the criminals or smugglers. It’s the Laredo Police Department.”

But Lagordiloca is a woman of the people.

While Villarreal doesn’t always get things right, she has had more successes than wins. In February, she broke the story before official outlets of a former Laredo police investigator who was accused of taking gambling proceeds from police raids at casinos. The investigator resigned.

“I’m still learning how to say things like ‘allegedly’ or ‘it’s being said’ when I’m describing breaking news,” Villarreal said. “It’s a challenge, because I speak the language of the streets, and that’s why people follow me.”

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Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

Entertainment

Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

tecolotes_2_laredos / Instagram

Sports have a way of bringing people together. The experience of rooting for your team is a unifying feeling that transcends borders and culture. Showtime is exploring the importance of sports through the lens of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos.

“Bad Hombres” is a documentary highlighting immigration under President Trump through baseball.

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos are the only binational professional baseball team in the world. The team splits their home games between stadiums in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Director Andrew Glazer wanted to highlight the immigration issue through a sports lens to offer a different layer to the narrative.

“Most of the people trying to come into the U.S. are families and children trying to escape horrible violence in Central America,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “That story has been told, so what I wanted to do was show people in a way that I thought would be relatable to what life is like on the border. What life is like on those two sides and how interconnected they are. The thing that struck me to be honest is that initially in Laredo, Texas was how pervasive Spanish is spoken.”

The documentary shows the struggles of the baseball team trying to make sense of the volatile U.S.-Mexico border relations.

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos split time playing their home games between two stadiums in the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration’s constant battle with Mexico and threats to close the border put the team’s season in jeopardy. A first look teaser shows team managers trying to coordinate the release of game tickets in time with the ever-changing immigration announcements from the Trump administration.

“Bad Hombres” speaks politics without directly addressing politics.

“Even though my film has an overarching political message, the players are not covertly or overtly political in any way,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “They are baseball players and they are living their lives and a lot of them are trying to make it to the majors and some of them were in the majors and are now finishing their careers. There wasn’t a whole lot of political discussions.”

Glazer made sure to highlight the depths and complexities of the team members dealing with the political climate without politics.

“Inherently, what made the team fascinating is you had players from the U.S. who were Anglo-American players and Mexican American players who had a different perspective,” Glazer told DJ Sixsmith. “Then you had Mexican players and some Dominican players and Cuban and people from everywhere else. There were different languages and different perspectives. Seeing how that developed over time was pretty fascinating.”

“Bad Hombres” is streaming on Showtime.

READ: Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

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Jussie Smollett Speaks Out For The First Time In Months About His Alleged 2019 Attack— ‘They Won’t Let This Go’

Entertainment

Jussie Smollett Speaks Out For The First Time In Months About His Alleged 2019 Attack— ‘They Won’t Let This Go’

Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty

In early 2019, “Empire “actor Jussie Smollett found himself thrust into the public spotlight of scrutiny after it was reported that he had been the victim of a hate crime. His original claim initially prompted public outrage and a flood of support from fans. Then, nearly three weeks later, the public was shocked to learn that Smollett had been charged with disorderly conduct and the false filing of a police report after it was determined that the attack had been staged. Worse? Officials suspected that Smollett himself had choreographed the entire attack from start to finish. In March of 2019, the actor was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report that claimed two men attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs at him.

Since then, the charges against Smollett have been dropped but his reputation remains tarnished. The court of public opinion has determined that he is a liar and fabricator. Ultimately he was dropped from his role on his show and he has remained relatively silent about the issue.

Now, a year after the alleged attack Smollett is speaking out about the controversy in a rare interview.

On Wednesday, the actor made an appearance in an Instagram Live conversation with author and activist Marc Lamont Hill. During the interview, Smollett addressed his ongoing trial calling the situation “frustrating, to say the least.”

“It’s been beyond frustrating, and I certainly am not going rogue,” Smollett explained. “I’m still taking the advice of my attorneys and everything like that, but I don’t really see, honestly, what staying quiet has really done, like, where it has gotten me. … It’s so much bigger than me.”

Smollett went onto share what the past year has done to him and shared that his legal team recently filed a motion against his indictment. The motion is set to be reviewed in court on Thursday. “I believe I have to give it up to God,” Smollett explained before adding that he thinks the legal motion will fall in his favor.

“They won’t let this go,” he explained. “It doesn’t matter — there is an example being made. And the sad part is that there’s an example being made of someone who did not do what they are being accused of.”

Addressing accusations that his original claims were all a hoax, Smollett said that “From the very, very beginning, it was set up to seem like I was lying about something or everything.”

Smollett claimed “there would be no reason for me to do this” and called the accusations “bulls—,” before adding that the “last thing” hew would ever want to do is “be portrayed as a victim.”

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