No matter how you feel about the policing of transphobic speech in the media (and there are certainly varying opinions from many communities), can we at least agree that by 2014 you shouldn’t get away with this on your radio program?
Speaking about a recent local ordinance granting transgender healthcare to Rochester city employees and their families, Breakfast Buzz hosts Kimberly Ray and Berry Beck referred to transgender people as “nut jobs,” adding that “The dude can look like a lady and the city is going to pay for it!”
Well after being suspended indefinitely, their station decided to can them for good.
But rather than leave it at that, 89.9 Rochester is using the embarrassing incident as a teachable moment, inviting trans activists Lanie and Maur Delaney onto the program to provide real information about the healthcare issue and foster an actual conversation about transgender people living in the community.
For their part, Kimberly and Beck have issued an apology, though it’s too little too late to save their careers at 89.9. Their statement reads in part:
We are very sorry for the hurt and pain we have caused anyone, especially those in the Transgender community and their friends and families…
Our attempt was to discuss a controversial healthcare issue; however our lack of sensitivity and understanding of the Transgender people and their plight created 12 minutes of radio we that wish we could take back…
We fully understand Entercom’s position and their decision to dismiss us…
We certainly don’t doubt whether they wish they could take it back, but who wouldn’t want to take something back after it led to their unemployment?
Still, it’s promising (and unfortunately fairly novel) to see an actual conversation spring up out of a controversy.