Hot 97/New York DJ Cipha Sounds Suspended For Haitian Remark
December 22, 2010 at 8:01 AM (PT)
EMMIS CMMUNICATIONS Top 40/Rhythmic WQHT (HOT 97)/NEW YORK has suspended DJ CIPHA SOUNDS indefinitely for making an offensive comment about Haitian women. According to HIPHOPDX.COM, during last FRIDAY's broadcast, CIPHA quipped, "The reason I’m HIV negative is because I don’t mess with Haitian girls."
Listeners, community leaders and members of the Haitian-American community erupted in protest, calling for SoUNDS' firing. SOUNDS offered an almost immediate apology on-air. "I made a stupid, tasteless joke that was a one-liner," he told listeners."It was taken totally the wrong way, and I want to say sincerely that I apologize for even saying this thing."
CIPHA SOUNDS, born LUIS DIAZ, is a 15-year industry vet, cited his relief efforts during the Haitian earthquake and his rapport with the Haitian community as evidence of his true feelings. Nevertheless, EMMIS ordered SOUNDS to undergo sensitivity training focused on the Haitian community, and the station announced it will work with community leaders to increase HIV awareness.
"CIPHA made an immediate public apology and recognizes his insensitivity and the negative impact his comments have on all Haitians," EMMIS-NEW YORK SVP/Market Manager ALEX CAMERON said. "The Haitian community is an important part of our listenership whom we respect and value. The suspension is an indication of the importance we place on delivering a product that respects our Haitian audience. It's a very regrettable and unfortunate circumstance for all involved and particularly because we know this is not the nature of this young man who has been an advocate of the Haitian community and a big part of our fundraising efforts for HAITI. He is committed to working with the Haitian community to make a difference and turn this negative incident into an opportunity for increased learning and awareness."