Amazing ignorance*

The furor over New York station Hot 97’s incredibly ignorant dumb stupid malicious decision to make fun of the tsunami victims and survivors is getting increasingly louder and shrill. To recap, Hot 97’s morning deejay Miss Jones decided to drum up some controversy by spoofing “We Are the World” with racial epithets and crude language. Supposedly, the show is known for sometimes pushing the envelope, but this was just, to say the least, completely out of taste. Hiphopmusic.com posted some of the lyrics to the song:

..All at once you could hear the screaming ch*nks and no one was safe from the wave there were africans drowning, little chinamen swept away you could hear god laughing, “swim you b*tches 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…

I found out about the issue after I found a tidbit in (New York-based) MediaBistro’s daily digest of media news. There’s also some stories that recount how the news presenter on the show, Miss Info, who is Korean American, protested the song and was verbally attacked by the rest of the show. Newsday’s Bryan Virasami reports that one of the show’s members, Todd Lynn, said he was “gonna start shooting Asians” after Miss Info complained.

The song, to the melody of “We are the World,” was played several times since Jan. 18 until it was halted Friday amid complaints. Proceeds from the original song, recorded in 1985, were used for famine relief in Africa.

The parody’s lyrics make reference to 20 foot waves and contain racial epithets.

In addition to Miss Jones, the other on-air crew includes DJ Envy, Todd Lynn and Miss Info, a Korean-American woman who was heard on air registering opposition to the song when it was first aired.

Councilman John Liu of Flushing was joined by several colleagues and Asian-Americans who denounced the hosts, Hot 97 and its parent company, Emmis Communications.

“This is utterly irreprehensible,” Liu said. “It degrades the more than 200,000 victims, it demeans all of us here in New York City and throughout the world who are engaged in trying to help these victims of the tsunami, and it’s an insult to humankind itself.”

Liu said he was particularly offended by an on-air exchange in which Lynn said, “I’m gonna start shooting Asians.”

After posting an apology on the station’s Web site, Miss Jones and the station manager issued an on-air apology yesterday. The Web site said Jones and others on the show will donate a week’s salary to tsunami relief efforts.

Hot 97 did issue an apology:

OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON AIRING OF TSUNAMI PARODY SONG

HOT97 regrets the airing of material that made light of a serious and tragic event. We apologize to our listeners and anyone who was offended.

Both HOT97’s program director and Miss Jones issued on-air apologies on Monday stating that the material was offensive and should not have been aired.

HOT97 takes pride in its community involvement and in the last few weeks has joined with broadcasters nationwide to raise money for victims of the Tsunami. Our relief effort will result in a substantial cash donation.

For one thing, it seems as if they were truly apologetic, they would take that banner of Miss Jones off the main page. Honestly, it seems to me that the entire team who was for airing the “song” should be fired and never hired by another company again. What amazes me is the sheer ignorance of the people who might think the parody might be even remotely funny. What also galls me is the attitude that people still have in an area as urban and diverse as New York City. My God, the malicious actions of Miss Jones and her team could be compared to the parodies by white men in blackface just 60 years ago, parroting the supposedly “ig’nant, dumb and stupid n*ggers,” and then threatening to shoot them if a particularly brave person objects. Why are we slipping back to that era and why are we slipping into those roles?

More news here, here and here. I can’t find a working link to the mp3 of the song, but if you find it let me know. I’m particularly interested in hearing what exactly they said to Miss Info.

I haven’t posted in a while, but here’s the latest on the fracas, from the New York Daily News:

Protesters ahd this message yesterday for hip-hop radio station Hot 97: Fire Miss Jones and her crew or kiss your advertisers goodbye.

More than 100 demonstrators and a slew of elected officials protested outside the Hudson St. studios of WQHT 97.1 FM over last week’s broadcast of a parody song mocking tsunami deaths.

The group demanded the firing of the “indefinitely” suspended morning show host, Miss Jones, and others involved in the episode.

Officials led by Councilman John Liu (D-Queens) urged sponsors to pull their ads from the station and cited companies that have done so, including Coca-Cola.

“We demand that [owner] Emmis Communications terminate the two people most responsible for this – Miss Jones and [co-morning host] Todd Lyn,” Liu said.

Hot 97, which has repeatedly apologized, issued a statement saying, “Our entire radio family is ashamed by this.” It made no mention of firing anyone, but said the salaries of the suspended crew will be redirected “to charities aiding in tsunami relief for the duration of this suspension.”

The team was indefinitely suspended just about the next day, after I wrote about it. Plus, Sprint PCS and McDonald’s pulled their advertising and issued extensive releases about how their were not involved. Check out their statements at Hiphopmusic.com. Check out Hot 97’s apology here. To be quite honest, a true apology would be to cut off that team.