Rochester’s Morning Shock Jocks Fired for Transphobic Tirade
Rochester 98.9 "Breakfast Buzz" DJs Kimberly and Beck were "suspended indefinitely" Wednesday night, and fired Thursday morning after making controversial and anti-transgender comments during their show on Wednesday.
The comments came in response to a citywide decision for Rochester to offer medical benefits to transgender employees.
"This morning Entercom fired Kimberly and Beck effective immediately," wrote Sue Munn, Vice-President/General Manager Entercom Rochester, in a statement. "Their hateful comments against the transgender community do not represent our station or our company. We deeply apologize to the transgender community, the community of Rochester, and anyone else who was offended by their hateful comments. We are proud of our past work on behalf of the local LGBT community and we remain committed to that partnership."
It was reported that the duo’s lengthy diatribe against transgender rights in Rochester, including their verbal assault on a local transgender high school athlete came under fire. The comments received an instant response from a caller who took the DJs to task, but was laughed off the air.
The DJs’ comments also sparked a firestorm of support from the LGBT community and advocates, who decried Kimberly and Beck’s and let the radio station know in no uncertain terms that this rhetoric would not be tolerated.
Kimberly noted yesterday in a tweet (her Twitter account has since been deleted) responding to the controversy, that the "freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend others." But apparently, not the freedom to offend your bosses.
The Empire State Pride Agenda swiftly condemned the language in a statement, calling it, "highly offensive to New York’s LGBT community. The segment, aired in response to Rochester’s announcement at our Spring Dinner on Saturday that municipal employees will have access to transition-related healthcare, contains sound bite after sound bite of misinformation and hate speech."
Not only did the hosts conflate sexual orientation and gender identity and make the ill-informed leap from medically-necessary care to elective surgery, they also degraded LGBT identities more generally, including the outrageous contention that transgender people are "nut jobs," wrote ESPA.
ESPA noted that the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and many other organizations agree that transition-related health care is a medically necessary and cost-saving measure and should be covered under public insurance plans. They called upon the radio station to issue a formal apology and to seek education on transgender issues.
GLAAD made a similar offer, taking the station to task and reporting that they "will be continuing to speak with the station’s leadership about transgender people and their health care needs," and will provide updates soon.