CAN'T BLAME HIP-HOP ON THIS ONE (OR CAN YOU?)
From the NY Times
April 24, 2007
CBS Radio Show Hosts Suspended After Prank Call
By JACQUES STEINBERG
- CBS Radio suspended two hosts from an FM station in New York City today after an Asian-American advocacy organization complained about the broadcast of a six-minute prank phone call to a Chinese restaurant that was peppered with ethnic and sexual slurs.
The call was first played on “The Dog House With JV and Elvis,” a midmorning show on WFNY, on April 5, the day after Don Imus made his comment about the Rutgers women’s basketball team on WFAN, another CBS-owned station. The call was then replayed on “The Dog House” on Thursday, a week after Mr. Imus was fired by CBS Radio.
In the skit, a series of apparently unsuspecting employees of a Chinese restaurant are berated by a caller who tells one woman he would like to “come to your restaurant” to see her naked, especially a part of her body he refers to as “hot, Asian, spicy.” The caller also attempts to order “flied lice,” brags of his prowess in kung fu and repeatedly curses at several employees.
In a statement on Sunday, the four New York-area chapters of the Organization of Chinese Americans, an advocacy group, demanded an apology from the show’s two hosts and from CBS Radio, and called for the firing of the hosts and their producer.
In an interview today before the suspensions were announced, Vicki Shu Smolin, president of the organization’s New York City chapter, said she was mystified that CBS would allow the call to be broadcast in the first place and then would permit it to be replayed in the aftermath of the Imus incident. (“The Dog House” has been waging a broad campaign in support of Mr. Imus both on the show and on its Web site.)
“I just see plain ignorance in the CBS management — of the community, of who we are, of what we’re all about,” Ms. Shu Smolin said. “If they don’t fire the D.J.’s, it will be a double standard.”
She promised to rip a page from the playbook of the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the charge for Mr. Imus’s dismissal, by staging protests of CBS Radio and boycotting advertisers on WFNY.
“They don’t think they’re going to get any backlash from the Asian-American community,” she said. “They’re definitely wrong.”
In an e-mail message sent this afternoon, a spokeswoman for CBS Radio, Karen Mateo, said that the two hosts, Jeff Vandergrift (JV) and Dan Lay (Elvis), had been suspended “without pay until further notice.” Mr. Vandergrift, Ms. Mateo said, had apologized on today’s show. The show, which began on WFNY (92.3 FM) in January 2006, can be heard outside the New York City market only via the Internet.
Ms. Shu Smolin said she first learned of the “Dog House” broadcast on Saturday, in an article published by Ming Pao, a Chinese-language daily newspaper in New York. She said her organization had since sent e-mail messages to the general manager and program director of WFNY voicing its concerns, but had to resort to regular mail to reach Leslie Moonves, the president and chief executive of CBS.
“I can’t get any contact info on him,” she said.
It was, she acknowledged, an indication that her organization was not yet as media savvy as Mr. Sharpton’s.