Immigrant Rights Activists Angry With KFI's John And Ken
September 30, 2011 at 4:59 PM (PT)
CLEAR CHANNEL Talk KFI-A/LOS ANGELES afternoon hosts JOHN KOBYLT and KEN CHIAMPOU have long been at odds with advocates for illegal immigrants, and their campaign against CALIFORNIA's version of the "Dream Act" providing tuition breaks and assistance for illegal immigrants has drawn a protest from immigrant rights activists demanding that the hosts be taken off the air.
The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that a spokesman for the COALITION FOR HUMANE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS, JORGE-MARIO CABRERA, is complaining that JOHN AND KEN gave out his cellphone and office numbers on the air for listeners to directly reach him, and that some listeners left rude and "humiliating" messages.
"What incendiary rhetoric? Not a single example is cited.. because there aren't any to cite."
NATIONAL HISPANIC MEDIA COALITION Pres./CEO ALEX NOGALES, who previously led campaigns against HOWARD STERN and LOU DOBBS, called the incident "the last straw"; other illegal immigrant rights groups have joined CABRERA in calling for a sponsor boycott until the hosts are fired.
KFI PD ROBIN BERTOLUCCI told the paper she planned to meet with representatives of the groups and that "we're looking forward to talking to them. I think that's the best place for us to discuss it."
On FRIDAY, JOHN AND KEN sent a letter to the TIMES editor objecting to the article's content and tone, alleging that the article's author "accepted uncritically all the charges against us and our show made by a number of community activists, and as a result, her story is extremely misleading." The hosts noted that CABRERA sent his cellphone number to the media on all communications, that they "have a right to oppose the California DREAM Act, just as Mr. CABRERA has a right to advocate for it," and that they "did not -- and would never -- encourage anyone to make threats or intimidating remarks. We disavow them and have said so repeatedly on the air. As the targets of threats ourselves, we are extremely sensitive to language that could be viewed as inciting threats or violence." The letter also asks the editor about the reporter's characterization of their show as "incendiary rhetoric," asking, "What incendiary rhetoric? Not a single example is cited.. because there aren't any to cite."
And Market Manager GREG ASHLOCK responded to NOGALES with a letter scheduling a meeting between himself, BERTOLUCCI, Marketing Director NEIL SAAVEDRA, and NOGALES on OCTOBER 6th but warning, "if the purpose of the meeting is to try and change JOHN AND KEN's opinion on the DREAM Act -- or to ask me to sanction them for exercising their First Amendment rights -- our get-together won't be the best use of our time." ASHLOCK repeated the hosts' citation of CABRERA's press releases as the source of the cellphone number, and added that the number was removed from the show podcast when CABRERA made it clear the number was not meant for public distribution. The letter also included a transcription of the actual comments made by JOHN AND KEN that he said showed that, contrary to NOGALES' claim, the hosts did not encourage listeners to "call and harass" CABRERA.