Friday, November 03, 2006

Radio host canned for calling candidate a 'fat lesbian'

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- A radio talk show host was fired Friday after he made a derogatory comment about the weight and sexuality of the Green-Rainbow party candidate running for Massachusetts governor.

WRKO-AM pulled host John DePetro from the air after he made the comments Thursday. It announced Friday that he had been fired.

"In the context of what he said and the tone with which he said it, the comments were completely inappropriate, derogatory and will not be tolerated," said Jason Wolfe, the vice president of AM programming and operations for station owner Entercom Boston.

DePetro did not immediately return an e-mailed request for comment Friday. However, he told The Boston Globe in a story posted Friday on its Web site that he was "stunned" that he had been fired.

He said he had called the candidate, Grace Ross, to apologize for calling her a "fat lesbian."
The host, who calls himself the "Independent Man," said he made the remark because he was exasperated that Ross and independent candidate Christy Mihos were eating up time during a debate earlier in the week that included Republican candidate Kerry Healey and Democrat Deval Patrick.

He said it was then that he told listeners he wished someone would "tell the fat lesbian to shut up."

More here

Hmmm. Well I guess some radio stations have different standards than others. Insult a woman because of her weight and sexual orientation. Fired.

Suggest that we hog-tie someone to a post and burn 'em alive. Not Fired. (Rogers & Morgan)

Suggest that nine journalists and an editor be hanged. Not Fired. (Morgan)

Demand that a caller, "Say Allah is a whore." Not Fired (Sussman)

Imitate New York Times editor Bill Keller dying in the electric chair. Not Fired. (Brenner)

Heck, I don't even bother to note the name calling these people do. If ABC Radio Disney won't reprimand or fire any of these people for those comments, I don't think that it would do any good to point out all the names that they call people. But believe me they do.


Blogger Jim said...

Hey Spocko, I was going to send you an email about this story. As a listener to WRKO I was very upset at this. First he got fired for having a "derogatory tone". Spocko do you think folks that oppose President Bush should be fired if someone thinks their tone is derogatory? This station supposedly claims to be the home of "talk radio" which is pretty tough if you fire folks based on tone.

For me the gold standard is "is it true?". The phrase I heard was "big fat lesbian". Is she big? Well that's a matter of opinion. If she fat? Well I guess you could call that an opinion but I think based on her size that her BMI would place her in the fat category. Is she a lesbian? According to her website she is. Had he said something like, she smokes marlboro cigarettets- then I could possibly see him getting fired (cigarette smoking is a big issue in MA)

Second I applaud your efforts to let advertisers and station staff know how you feel about Morgan (et al.). This is the way it's supposed to be done. If enough folks and advertisers do not like what she and the others are saying, they will be fired. Not because of their words or tone (per se) but because it no longer make sense to try to make money selling ads on a timeslot no-one listens to.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure he should have been fired for saying that. Reprimanded maybe but fired?
As you so rightly pointed out there is a lot more hateful stuff out there and nothing ever happens to these ppl.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Merujo said...

Being a straight, but very fat woman, I have to comment on the first comment here from Jim. I don't believe for one moment that the comment on this woman was "truth telling." This was derogatory - "big fat lesbian" is a profoundly junior high way of describing someone. It demonstrates no respect or maturity at all, and diminishes this woman's substance to her appearance and sexuality. Is it in the same category of suggesting that people die or be murdered? No. But it was utterly unprofessional and snide. "Big fat" is a phrase I object to massively when used as a weapon. It's not a "truth" - it's a discourtesy based upon something unworthy of comment.

Sorry, but this is something that riles me up a lot.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Merijo, Being disrespectful is not worth being fired over. A lot of folks in radio, (and not on radio) are disrepectful of the president but I haven't heard of them being fired. I didn't mean to say that he was explaining truth only that it was in fact either observably true or personal opinion. Personally, I'm a skinny geek. It can be taken as disrepectful, derogatory, unprofessional, and juvenile for someone else to say so. On a talk radio show, you should not be fired for being disrepectful, derogatory, unprofessional, and juvenile- even if it's all of the above at the same time. Especially when every other station ID you claim to be the "cradle of talk radio" or "where talk was invented". As a talk show host on the competition station said "I suppose he could have said "tell the large physically unfit homosexual woman to stop spewing nonsense" but it wouldn't have been as succinct"

11:34 AM  
Blogger Interrobang said...

said "I suppose he could have said "tell the large physically unfit homosexual woman to stop spewing nonsense" but it wouldn't have been as succinct"

Um, so why does he have to bring her size or her shape or her sexual orientation into it at all? That's what makes it an insult; her size, shape, or who she sleeps with doesn't have anything to do with whether or not he thinks she's talking bunkum. He could have just said, "[Candidate] is talking crap," or whatever. That would have been even shorter.

As to whether he should have been fired or whether it was true or not, do you suppose if I went on the public airwaves in the US and called Bush a "whiny deserting dry-drunk with a short man's inferiority complex" that would get me in trouble? I rather suspect it would.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Interrobang, people have called the president a drunk and worse. No-one bats an eye at that. nor IMO should they. If you're in the public eye expect folks to toss insults- that's the media today. the entire point of talk radio is to allow different viewpoints to be expressed (in an entertaining manner). My comment above explains why Spocko is spot on in how to deal with an opinion or expression that you do not think should even be on the air.

11:50 AM  
Blogger PTCruiser said...

I think I see a love connection forming between Jim and Merujo. Get a room, you two!

7:55 PM  

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