Update: The KFI boys apologize. See below.
John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, inflammatory KFI radio hosts with a reported audience of over 1 million, have finally gotten themselves suspended, reports Talkers. (If only for a week-and-a-half.)
After years of pissing off every shade of leftist and minority, what was the last straw for KFI and its parent company, Clear Channel?
John and Ken made fun of Whitney Houston after she was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton last week. Here's what they said:
“At some point you're just sick of it all, and so is everybody else in the industry. All her friends and hangers on, everybody who knew had to deal with her. It's like, 'Ah Jesus…here comes the crack ho again, what's she gonna do? Ah look at that, she's doin' handstands next to the pool. Very good, crack ho…' After a while everybody's exhausted. And then you find out she's dead. It's like, 'Really? Took this long?'”
Nasty stuff, for sure.
But we're not necessarily buying KFI's statement (as printed by Talkers) saying the station “does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind.”
Through the years, KFI has tolerated such vitriolic behavior as airing the cellphone number of Jorge Mario-Cabrera, communications manager for the Coalition of Humane Immigrants Rights of Los Angeles. John and Ken encouraged listeners to call up Mario-Cabrera and tell him how they felt about the DREAM Act — prompting hundreds of hateful voicemails and violent threats.
A recent UCLA study even found that John and Ken's content qualified as bona fide hate speech.
So: Nope. The Houston suspension doesn't look like remorse. It looks like a PR stunt to garner John and Ken even more notoriety than they already have. Because personalities this infamous can only get bigger by diving further down the toilet hole. (And KFI management gets to look like the good guy, to boot! Making fun of dead people, especially vulnerable song angels like Houston, does not win advertisers.)
John's apology (below) is a total crock. And notice how it dodgily only mentions the language, not the content.
“We made a mistake and we accept the station's decision. We used language that was inappropriate and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.”
This big dramatic suspension will be over on February 27. At which point John and Ken will return to a larger audience than ever, waiting with bated breath for them to drop the next bomb.
Because trolling is the surest shot to viraldom. Just ask Christwire! Or Fox News, for that matter.
Update: The National Hispanic Media Coalition has been trying forever to make something like this happen, in response to John and Ken's racist comments against Latinos. The org has succeeded in getting some advertisers to pull, but a highly publicized suspension is something else entirely.
Alex Nogales, president of the coalition, gives the Weekly his theory on why the “crack ho” commentary is being taken so much more seroiusly:
“The African-American community has got a history of civil-rights action, a strong one. And [KFI] is very afraid that this community is going to go much further than we ever have. … White America is much more sensitive to African-Americans than they are to anyone else. Eventually all of us will have the same type of power to come to a station and say, 'Take these people off the air, because they're damaging the entire Latino community of Southern California.' In the meantime, we're on the sidelines applauding the African-American community for the political power that they have.”
John and Ken have apologized, the Los Angeles Times reported this morning.