Two radio hosts in Rochester, NY lost their jobs following a grossly transphobic segment mocking the transgender community. But the vicious comments that got them fired are nearly identical to the kind of transphobic hate speech Fox News regularly peddles to its national audience with impunity.
On May 22, Rochester radio station 98.9 The Buzz announced that it had fired Kimberly and Beck - the hosts of the station’s morning talk radio show “The Breakfast Buzz’ - following outrage over a segment criticizing Rochester’s plan to cover transgender healthcare for employees and their families. According to a statement from Entercom Rochester:
This morning Entercom fired Kimberly and Beck effective immediately. Their hateful comments against the transgender community do not represent our station or our company. We deeply apologize to the transgender community, the community of Rochester, and anyone else who was offended by their hateful comments. We are proud of our past work on behalf of the local LGBT community and we remain committed to that partnership.
The May 21 segment in question was an “atrocious" train wreck of transphobic slurs, misinformation, and hate speech. Kimberly and Beck called transgender people "nut jobs," trivialized the need for transgender health care, and played Aerosmith’s Dude Looks Like A Lady throughout the segment. They accused a transgender high school athlete of having an unfair advantage over her opponents and joked about her using her genitals to play baseball. And when a caller expressed disappointment in the hosts’ transphobic commentary, another host responded “thank you, sir,” in an attempt to mock the caller’s gender:
From the 05.21.2014 edition of WBZA’s The Breakfast Buzz with Kimberly and Beck:
98.9 The Buzz was right to act quickly to shut down Kimberly and Beck’s hateful transphobic commentary.
But Kimberly and Beck’s comments aren’t all that extreme when compared to the way conservative media outlets talk about the transgender community. In reality, the segment might have been entirely unremarkable had it been aired on Fox News.
Playing Dude Looks Like A Lady to mock transgender people? Fox has done it.
Depicting transgender people as delusional or crazy? Check, check, and check.
Worrying that transgender people have an unfair advantage in sports? Fox has that covered.
Intentionally misgendering transgender people against their wishes? Common practice at Fox.
Trivializing transgender healthcare as cosmetic or unnecessary? Megyn Kelly is all over it.
Generally making crude jokes at transgender people’s expense? You get the idea.
Kimberly and Beck’s comments are inexcusable, but they also reached a relatively small audience of listeners. Now that the embattled hosts are looking for work, they might want to consider applying at Fox News. They’ll be able to reach a much broader audience without having to worry about any pesky rules against using hate speech.