Boston Mayor Angry Over O&A Homeless Shopping Spree
December 18, 2006 at 4:34 AM (PT)
BOSTON Mayor THOMAS M. MENINO probably hasn't forgotten the infamous OPIE AND ANTHONY APRIL FOOLS' gag announcing his "death" in 1998 at WAAF/BOSTON, so it's not entirely a surprise that he's offended by the show's annual "Homeless Shopping Spree" event. The show aired live on SATURDAY afternoon on WBCN/BOSTON, WFNY-F (92.3 FREE FM)/NEW YORK, and WYSP (94.1 FREE FM)/PHILADELPHIA as well as XM SATELLITE RADIO, and is airing via tape delay on all O&A affiliates MONDAY morning. OPIE AND ANTHONY's annual event provides a busload of homeless people money to shop at an upscale mall, and about 2,200 O&A fans came out not only to see the show but to provide the homeless with extra shopping money.
MENINO, in a statement, called the "spree" at THE MALL AT SHORT HILLS in NEW JERSEY a "sick and twisted exercise that degrades the most vulnerable members of our society. This is wrong, and we need the public and our partners who care about the homeless and about basic human decency to stand up and tell them so." He added that some of the homeless in the event "are human beings who may have been struggling for years with the adversity and problems that come with alcoholism and addictions, or with mental illness and other disabilities. The fact that WBCN has chosen the homeless and the holidays to present this humiliating and shameful attempt at humor is inhumane and shameful." The event is coinciding with BOSTON's annual counting of the city's homeless population.