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|For two, tsunami joke is a swan song
Released 02 February 2005  By RAFER GUZMÁN Newsday
Morning personality Todd Lynn and producer Rick Delgado were fired
yesterday for "displaying gross insensitivity and making offensive
remarks," according to a statement from Emmis Communications, which
owns Hot 97 (WQHT/97.1 FM). But Miss Jones, who leads the morning crew
that aired the song, will get her job back after a two-week suspension.
"An internal investigation by Hot 97 and Emmis determined that the
singularly egregious actions of Lynn and Delgado warranted
termination," the statement said. Delgado was fired "for his role in
writing, producing and airing" the song, which mocked tsunami victims.
Lynn (who after the song aired remarked, "I'm going to start shooting
Asians") was fired "for making offensive, racially insensitive comments
while on the air."
The firings, effective immediately, come two weeks after the song's
initial broadcast and a few days after Hot 97 indefinitely suspended
morning crew members Miss Jones, DJ Envy and assistant Tasha Hightower.
Emmis said yesterday their jobs would be reinstated after two weeks,
next Wednesday. Another morning show personality, Miss Info - who is
Asian-American and objected to the song - was not suspended.
The suspended employees' salaries for the two weeks they're out will be
donated to the tsunami relief efforts of Give2Asia. Emmis itself will
give the organization $1 million.
Despite on-air apologies from the hosts, Asian advocacy groups and
several New York City Council members called for dismissals, protesting
outside the station and persuading high-profile companies - including
McDonald's, Sprint and Toyota - to pull their advertising.
Advocates for Asians responded unfavorably to Emmis' announcement and
continued to call for Miss Jones' termination. "I'm not clear on what
role Miss Jones and DJ Envy played in this situation, but they clearly
had a role," says Kai Yu, director of Asian Media Watch in Yonkers.
"You'd think that Miss Jones has creative authority over the pieces
that she airs. If that is true, two weeks is not adequate."
Councilman John Liu of Flushing called Emmis' actions "grossly
inadequate." Miss Jones, he said, should "spend two weeks visiting
orphanages in Indonesia and Sri Lanka so she can become a better
Until yesterday, Lynn had been trying to arrange a meeting with several
Asian advocacy groups, said James Fujikawa, co-founder of the
Manhattan-based Asian Media Watchdog. "He wanted to set the record
straight to say that he's not the one who made a decision on this
song," Fujikawa said.
But Monday night, he said, Lynn told him, "You got your wish, man. I'm
fired. I'm gone."
February 2, 2005
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