John & Ken Should Be Kept Off Air at KTLA News? Hispanic Media Coalition Pushes for Ban After Whitney Houston 'Crack Ho' Remark
Now read this: KFI is vowing to diversify its staff and programming in response to the controversy.
John & Ken.
A coalition of African Americans in media, who met with the duo and KFI AM 640 management this week, seemed to be willing to move on even as they pressed for more diversity at the station.
Well, the National Hispanic Media Coalition seems to be a little less forgiving:
The group is asking supporters to call station president Don Corsini and demand that John & Ken be kept off the air at the TV station for good.
The pair's post-crack-ho-remark absence from a nightly "Driving it Home" segment on KTLA News, a story we broke here at the Weekly, has inspired the NHMC to make this move today.
We called Corsini to allow him to respond. An associate said he might be able to get back to us next week. Funny. We wonder if KTLA's reporters, when working on breaking news, have a week to wait for responses.
Anyway, NHMC president Alex Nogales told the Weekly today that while John & Ken are the bread and butter of talk-radio station KFI, they have no place on-air during a straight-news program:
We're asking Don not to bring them back on because they're not legitimate journalists. They're hate purveyors.
A rep for the duo told us they've been off the air at KTLA as a result of scheduling issues with a cameraman and that they would be back Monday.
In recent months the duo is alleged to have offended Asian Americans (uttering a remark about "Korean painter scam guys"), pro-immigrant Latinos (broadcasting the phone number of an immigrants' rights activist) and, of course, African Americans (via the Houston statement).
NHMC successfully persuaded major advertisers such as GM to pull out of the show. The pair was suspended from KFI for about a week and a half following its Whitney Houston remark.
And now, for the first time it seems, ethnic groups are working together in opposing the pair. The NHMC says it will coordinate efforts with the African American media coalition that met recently with station management. Nogales:
We're going to put a lot of pressure on Don [of KTLA]. It's not just two Mexicans behind us. It's an entire community fed up with these guys. They have a history of offending every one of the ethnic communities in town.
A press rep for John & Ken said he would get back to us soon with reaction to this story.
In the meantime, not everyone is willing to bury the duo. Activist Najee Ali said in a statement sent out to media earlier this week:
The station [KFI] pledged to make substantive changes in diversity. They are trying to build a bridge. John and Ken really want to put this behind them and move forward. Their voices are needed in Southern California, and they have done some good things. We can't throw out the baby with the bath water.