A Playboy model who worked as a production assistant at Mexico’s first presidential debate over the weekend is at the heart of a controversy Monday, with even some of the presidential candidates weighing in.
Julia Orayen, who graced the cover of the September 2008 issue of Playboy Mexico, was seen on national television wearing a tight, white low-cut dress as she handed out materials at the start of Sunday night’s debate.
Orayen appeared on camera for less than 30 seconds during the two-hour debate, but her voluptuous figure and naughty smile were in the media spotlight on Monday.
The Playboy model’s appearance at the event sparked debates on radio shows, while the election officials who organized the debate were unable to explain how someone dressed like that could end up on stage with the four presidential hopefuls.
“We asked the production company to not have any things that could be a distraction, that (the assistant) wear appropriate attire in accordance with the setting, but this condition was clearly not met,” Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, representative Alfredo Figueroa told MVS radio.
Orayen, who was hired by the production company selected by the IFE to set up the debate, changed one hour before the event started and was ready to go.
Social-networking sites lit up after the debate, prompting some of the candidates to comment on Orayen.
“I was taken aback a bit, she spiced the thing up and took away the solemnity of the debate,” New Alliance Party, or PANAL, presidential candidate Gabriel Quadri said.
“I’ll be honest, I had never been around a playmate and the truth is that it’s something that takes you aback,” Quadri said.
Orayen’s attire “did not fit the seriousness, the importance” of an event like this, National Action Party, or PAN, presidential candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota said.
“We were in a quality debate about the presidency and not at some other type of gathering or spectacle,” Vazquez Mota, who wore a black business suit to the event, said.
Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, refused to comment on the controversy, and frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has not commented either.
The press has been digging into Orayen’s background, with the Reforma newspaper reporting that she is from Argentina and the daily El Universal revealing that she was arrested on March 22, 2006, after crashing her Mercedes into a gas station in Mexico City.
Orayen said she was released because she had relatives who worked for the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, El Universal reported.
Some 80 million Mexicans will head to the polls on July 1 to cast ballots for a new president, 628 legislators and thousands of other officials.
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