SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Singer/songwriter and actress Maria Conchita Alonso's endorsement of Tea Party member and gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly and her subsequent departure from a Spanish-language production of "The Vagina Monologues" launched a national debate over freedom of expression Sunday.
Appearing on Fox News Channel, Alonso said, "When I came here people used to respect each other, Democrats, and Republicans, but nowadays, you're attacked for speaking out. People should speak out."
The Cuban-born Venezuelan actress, best known in the U.S. for her role in "Moscow on the Hudson" with co-star Robin Williams, said "I've been called all these horrible names like you can't imagine."
Alonso said she resigned from the San Francisco-based play for the sake of the other cast members after waves of criticism on Spanish radio threatened to disrupt the production, "They were very concerned, and I said, 'you know the other actors don't have to go through this. They don't deserve this. It's on me only.'"
Holding her dog, Tequila, during the interview, she said it's even been attacked as a stereotype, "The dog was attacked because they said it represents Mexicans because she's a chihuahua."
"It is sad, but it's no big deal," Alonso said.
"The Vagina Monologues," now without the star, is scheduled for a run from February 14th through 17th. The show is being produced by Eliana Lopez, wife of San Francisco Sheriff and Green Party co-founder Ross Mirkarimi.
"We really cannot have her in the show, unfortunately," Lopez told KPIX 5.
"Of course she has the right to say whatever she wants. But we're in the middle of the Mission. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe," Lopez said.
The controversy reached a fever pitch after a campaign ad aired showing the San Bernardino County assemblyman with Alonso. Donnelly has voiced strong views against illegal immigration and was once involved with the Minutemen Project, a group that patrolled the Mexican border, rounding up illegal immigrants.
"Politicians and big government are killing our prosperity, pushing welfare costs through the roof and driving our schools into the ground," Donnelly says in the ad.
In the commercial, Alonso jokingly translates in Spanish, "We're screwed."
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