The producer and co-host of a morning radio show that mocked tsunami victims have been fired.
“The actions of the morning show crew were socially and morally indefensible and the entire Emmis family is ashamed by this,” Rick Cummings, president of WQHT-FM parent company Emmis Radio, said in a statement. The company also said it would donate $1 million to tsunami relief.
The song broadcast on New York’s leading hip-hop station, known locally as Hot 97, put tasteless lyrics to the melody of the 1985 charity single “We Are the World.”
Producer Rick Del Gado and co-host Todd Lynn were fired. Del Gado was involved in writing and airing the song, and Lynn made “offensive, racially insensitive comments” following the song’s broadcast, Cummings said.
Three other members of the morning crew, including star Tarsha “Miss” Jones, remain in the middle of a two-week suspension that ends Feb. 9. Their salaries from those two weeks will be donated to tsunami relief.
New York City Council Member John C. Liu condemned the moves by Emmis as “too little, too late.”
“Emmis sought to profit from hate, and for that they must pay,” Liu said in a news release. He has called on the company to donate $10 million to tsunami relief.
Hot 97 has been criticized for poor taste before. In 2001, two different morning hosts were suspended after an on-air mocking of the plane crash death of R&B singer Aaliyah.