More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
KRXQ Radio Hosts Rob and Arnie Sweep Anti-Trans Namecalling Under the Rug
On Tuesday, we issued a Call to Action demanding that KRXQ radio hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States apologize for encouraging violence against transgender children. We also posted a blog update about the initial results from alerting our consitutents and media about the defamatory radio segment.
In a FOX 40 phone interview, KRXQ station manager Jim Fox responded to our Call to Action.
Did they do anything wrong? If you're a regular listener, the answer is no.
Hundreds of emails from our supporters poured into KRXQ from the United States and around the world demanding for Williams and States to issue an apology for their offensive comments. As a result, General Manager John Geary alerted us the hosts would issue a response on Wednesday morning in the 7:00am PST hour.
On the evening of Tuesday, June 2, GLAAD spoke with radio host Dawn Rossi. Director of National News Cindi Creager and Senior Media Strategist Andy Marra shared key information about the transgender community in preparation for their scheduled response. GLAAD also connected the radio host with Pam's House Blend contributor Autumn Sandeen and Trans Youth Family Allies Executive Director Kim Pearson.
Additionally, GLAAD's President Neil Giuliano was also directly contacted by a Chipotle Mexican Grill executive in the same evening to inform us the popular restaurant chain pulled their advertising support from the station. Having heard concerns from customers about the issue, they decided to take immediate action that cost KRXQ a year-long contract.
GLAAD staff monitored Wednesday's response that lasted for almost 3 hours. The Rob, Arnie and Dawn in the Morning show has posted the show in its entirety and can be listened to on their website.
In Wednesday's response, Rob Williams said at 12:16:
This show has a strong, unwavering, unblemished, untarnished dedication and commitment to battling for children and against children being harmed in any way. For years, we did a feature called 'The Silence Epidemic' when nobody talked about children being left alone in hot cars. To bake to death and their parents not being in any way held accountable. We discussed child abuse at levels that no other show would talk about.
He also goes on to state:
Everyone that listens to this show, everyone that's even aware of this show, knows that we have an underlying tone: You don't hurt kids! That's understood. But when you're having a serious conversation, sometimes you need to what we call 'release the pressure valve.' That's what Arnie's role on the show is. To make a point and release some of the pressure and let people laugh.
He closed his point of clarification by saying:
I'm sorry that you might find it funny -- or I'm sorry that you might not find it funny that some people laugh when Arnie -- who does not have a child -- talks about throwing a shoe at his non-existent son. You know what? Some people do laugh and they know we're not serious, that Arnie's not serious and we don't advocate for it.
While it was heartening for us to hear that Rob Williams and Arnie States did not advocate for violence against children, they also did not hold themselves accountable for their dehumanizing and defamatory words used to describe transgender children in last week's show.
You can listen to all of last week's show here.
In Wednesday's show, Williams and States missed the mark when it came to how name calling and bullying can negatively impact transgender youth. In a groundbreaking report titled, Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation's Schools by our friends at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), nearly 9 out of 10 transgender students experienced verbal harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation and gender expression. More than half were found to have experienced physical harassment.
Approximately 65% of transgender students reported feeling unsafe in their school because of their gender expression.
Most disturbing is that close to 40% of transgender students heard school staff make negative comments about someone's gender expression (39%) sometimes, often or frequently in the past year.
It is the very reason why GLAAD commends radio host Dawn Rossi for clearly defending transgender people and the damaging impact that namecalling can especially have on transgender people. Even when in the minority, Rossi was an ally and spoke about the devastating impact namecalling can have on transgender children and how verbal harassment can contribute to a hostile climate and potentially lead to physical harm.
However, GLAAD remains disappointed in the fact that Rob Williams and Arnie States did not apologize for their egregious remarks from last week that dehumanized transgender children.
In a follow-up story by The Sacramento Bee, GLAAD issued the following statement:
While we appreciate hosts Rob Williams and Arnie States clarifying that
they do not advocate violence against children, they ultimately failed
to take responsibility for using dehumanizing and defamatory words to
describe transgender children on last week's show.
We applaud host Dawn Rossi for articulating respect for transgender
people and acknowledging that defamatory words like those used last week
by her co-hosts help contribute to a hostile climate that continues to
place transgender youth at risk for bullying, harassment and violence.
We will continue asking our constituents to voice their concerns in a
respectful manner about last week's remarks and urging Williams and
States to use their radio platform responsibly on future broadcasts.
GLAAD urges readers to continue contacting KRXQ. Let them know that dehumanizing and defamatory remarks against transgender children are offensive and not acceptable.
Please refer to our original Call to Action for further information.
You can contact the following KRXQ radio hosts and general manager at the following info:
Vice President & General Manager
On Air Personality
On Air Personality
Please remember, when contacting KRXQ, ensure that your emails and phone calls are civil and respectful and do not engage in any kind of name-calling or abusive behavior.
Keep checking back for further updates on this developing story.