NHMC Applauds Los Angeles City Council’s Passage of Resolution Against Hate Speech
Wed, 03/21/2012 - 16:54 — brivas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHMC Applauds Los Angeles City Council’s Passage of Resolution Against Hate Speech
Los Angeles, CA–(NHMC, March 21, 2012)–Today the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) celebrates passage of a Los Angeles City Council resolution denouncing hate speech and calling for more diversity on Los Angeles broadcast stations, and commends council member Jan Perry for penning the motion. The resolution passed with overwhelming support by a 13-2 margin. Council members Joe Buscaino and Mitchell Englander voted against the resolution.
The resolution comes on the heels of a pattern of hateful rhetoric from Clear Channel radio hosts. NHMC and Media Matters have been tracking Clear Channel’s troubling pattern of hate speech for some time now. In January of this year, even before John and Ken notoriously called Whitney Houston as a “crack ho” and Rush Limbaugh referred to a Georgetown law student as a “slut” and a “prostitute,” NHMC released a report designating Clear Channel’s KFI a “hate radio hot spot.”
“The John and Ken Show, along with various other Clear Channel programs, have been spreading hate, misinformation and racism against people of color for well over a decade now, and over the past few weeks we have joined with a rainbow coalition to say enough is enough!” stated NHMC’s President and CEO, Alex Nogales, who testified this morning in favor of the resolution. Nogales added, “Clear Channel has a serious hate problem, and there is only one way to resolve it: fire John and Ken and the other haters, and replace them with diverse hosts.” Other members of the rainbow coalition that supported passage of this resolution include the Black Media Alliance, American Indians in Film and Television, the Los Angeles Urban League, the Korean American Bar Association, and All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena.
The resolution urges all Los Angeles broadcast radio and television management to “do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over the public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles.” It also states that the derogatory language used by some radio personnel have no place on the public airwaves.
NHMC has helped pass similar anti-hate speech resolutions through the San Francisco City Council and the California legislature. It also leads an ongoing campaign to “Take John and Ken Off the Air,” which it initiated in October of 2011 after John and Ken released the private cell phone number of an immigrant rights activist and urged their listeners to call him (the activist received over 500 hateful phone calls and death threats). With tens of thousands of individual supporters, and over three dozen national and local organizational supporters, the campaign has successfully encouraged over twenty major companies to officially pull support from the program. Dozens of other responsible advertisers have quietly pulled their support, and Verizon has completely removed its advertising spots from the entire station.
NHMC’s campaign to “Take John and Ken Off the Air” compliments its growing legacy of work to fight hate speech in media. Over three years ago it called on the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to examine the extent and effects of hate speech in media and to evaluate non-regulatory ways by which to counteract its negative impacts. In November of 2011 it released a pilot study that it commissioned through UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center, Quantifying Hate Speech on Commercial Talk Radio, which featured John and Ken’s hate rhetoric. Soon it will release two additional studies following up on the pilot.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition is a non-partisan, non-profit, media advocacy and civil rights organization established in 1986 in Los Angeles, California. Its mission is to educate and influence media corporations on the importance of including U.S. Latinos at all levels of employment; challenge media that carelessly exploit negative Latino stereotypes; and scrutinize and opine on media and telecommunications policy issues before the Federal Communications Commission and in Congress. Learn more at http://www.nhmc.org. Receive real-time updates on twitter @NHMC.
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WHEREAS, the City of Los Angeles has historically supported policies that prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and disability; and
WHEREAS, KFI 640 AM merged with Clear Channel Communications in 2000, making KFI 640 AM Clear Channel's flagship AM radio station in Los Angeles;
WHEREAS, KFI 640 AM, averages approximately 1.5 million listeners during any given weekday; and
WHEREAS as noted in a recent L.A. Times article, a growing percentage of Southern California cities, including the Great City of Los Angeles, contain significant populations of at least two racial or ethnic groups; and
WHEREAS, KFI 640 AM, is listened to by all races, including but not limited to Asian Americans, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans; and
WHEREAS, over two-thirds of the greater Los Angeles area that KFI AM broadcast signals reach is comprised of people of color, with 45% Latinos, 12% Asian Americans, 7% Blacks and 1% Native Americans; the Los Angeles market is also the top Latino market and the top Asian American market in the country; (source: 2010 U.S. Census) and
WHEREAS, KFI 640 AM talk show hosts have a long history of racially offensive comments as well as deplorable sexist remarks, particularly towards women and Asian Americans, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans;
WHEREAS, KFI radio hosts often dehumanize and defame women, gays and lesbians, and people of color, including referring to the late Whitney Houston as a “crack ho” and a Georgetown law student as a “slut” and a “prostitute,” stating that Native Americans “should have been better warriors,” remarking that there are “a lot of Korean painter scam guys,” wishing that they could pound a “stupid, illegal alien leaf-blower guy” to a pulp with a tennis racket, and saying that “gays like bodies that remind them of 14-year-old boys,” (source: Media Matters, http://mediamatters.org/search/index?qstring=john+and+ken&x=0&y=0); and
WHEREAS, February is National Black History Month; and
WHEREAS, on February 15, 2012, KFI 640 AM’s talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the “John and Ken Show” referred to pop music icon Whitney Houston as a “crack ho”, three days after her death;
WHEREAS, March is National Women’s History Month; and
WHEREAS, on February 29, 2012, on the eve of Women’s History Month, KFI 640 AM’s syndicated talk show host Rush Limbaugh referred to Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, as a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying on Capitol Hill about women’s access to contraception;
WHEREAS, given Clear Channel Media Holdings stated view on the value they place on diversity, it is our belief that corporate action must start at the top with KFI 640 AM; and
WHEREAS, Clear Channel Media Holding’s commitment to diversity is not being realized at its flagship station KFI 640 AM, where out of 15 on-air personalities, only one is a female and none of them are Black; and
WHEREAS there are not any Blacks currently working in KFI 640 AM’s newsroom as full-time producers or engineers, or as outside paid contributors, fill-in hosts, or other on air personalities; and
WHEREAS, when you have an absence of Asian Americans, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans in the workplace, it is easy to become desensitized to what other groups find intolerable which ultimately fosters an environment where negative comments can go unchecked and corporate guidelines and policies are no longer being enforced; and
WHEREAS, a truly diverse work environment includes the continuous hiring of women and Asian Americans, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that by adoption of this Resolution, that all management of radio and television stations in Los Angeles to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the derogatory language used by some radio personnel has no place on public airwaves in the Great City of Los Angeles or anywhere in America; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a truly diverse work environment must include the hiring of women, Asian Americans, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans not only as on-air talent, but as fill-in talent, paid contributors, producers, engineers, news reporters and online Web site owners.
PRESENTED BY: _________________________________
SECONDED BY: __________________________________