Radio station plays offensive tsunami victim parody song

By Abigail Keefe
February 17, 2005

Protests and public disapproval targeted hip-hop station, Hot 97, in New York, when they recently aired a tsunami-victim parody on their morning show. The “We Are the World” parody was played on the airwaves numerous times for weeks. The lyrics to the song were viewed by many as disturbing and by no-means funny.

The following are lyrics from the song that was deemed offensive:

“..All at once you could hear the screaming chinks, and no one was safe from the wave-there were Africans drowning, little chinamen swept away you could hear god laughing, ‘swim you bitches swim.’ So now you’re screwed, it’s the Tsunami you better run or kiss your ass away, go find your mommy I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head and now the children will be sold to child slavery…”

In response to the offensive material and severe criticism, Hot 97 took action. The morning show producer, Rick Delgado, and morning show member, Todd Lynn, have been fired. Morning show host, Miss Jones, and two others have been suspended for two weeks. In addition, Sprint and McDonald’s corporations have pulled their advertisements from the Hot 97 radio station.

Many protesters from the Asian Media Watch and the New York City Council have argued that the suspensions given are too light and all members should be fired. Another huge question raised by protesters is why hasn’t the FCC stepped in to do its job?

“I can’t believe someone would think a song like that is funny,” Erik Parrillo, sophomore marketing major, said. “It’s strange the FCC hasn’t stepped into the situation. They are usually so quick to take action and make sure something like that doesn’t air,” Parrillo said.

Fiery controversy has surrounded Federal Communications Commission (FCC) media regulation for years. First Amendment advocates battle for the valuable possession of free speech, while conservatives seek to eliminate the “trash” from the airwaves. In a post 9/11 society, restrictions have been common, yet many people feel the FCC has failed to take appropriate action in this case.

Krista Mazzeo, Cabrini communications center general supervisor and general manager of 89.1 WYBF-FM, feels differently. “The FCC is traditionally a higher authority that steps in when the station’s internal management cannot handle a situation,” Mazzeo said. “In this case, management handled the situation and imposed the penalties they thought were correct.”

Although two careers have been terminated and two others suspended, there is still a great number of people complaining to the station that the suspensions are too light of punishments. The station has recently aired messages of apology to the public. Also, Hot 97 has given statements that Sprint and McDonald’s had no connection to the song being played. Whether or not the host of the morning show, Miss Jones, will be fired or not is still up in the air.

Posted to the web by Chris Gentile

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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