Latino and civil rights groups stepped up their protest of KFI radio station’s “John and Ken Show” last week, bringing several dozen picketers to march outside KFI studios in Burbank, California.
“Stop the hate!” the protesters shouted as they marched. “Stop the hate!”
The rally was the latest in a series of efforts to knock the “John and Ken Show” off the air, and pressure advertisers to withdraw from the controversial radio show.
Controversy arose last month, when shock jocks John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou leaked the personal cell phone number of immigration rights activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera, Director of Communications at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, over the air during a rant about the California DREAM Act. Kobylt and Chiampou encouraged their listeners to call Cabrera, and many of them did, leaving more than 430 abusive and threatening messages to Cabrera and his staff.
Those expletive-laden messages included extremely derogatory language, racist taunts and threats of violence.
Since then, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, along with other groups, have convinced Vons, Ralphs, Verizon FIOS, and AT&T wireless to withdraw their commercials from the “John and Ken Show,” citing their practice of hate speech.
The groups have also demanded that Kobylt and Chiampou be fired, but KFI officials have so far resisted, saying that “expressing your opinion is not a firing offense.”
Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, says his organization is now looking into possible legal options, including seeing whether a case can be filed with the Federal Communications Commission. Nogales points out that Kobylt and Chiampou’s program is regularly used to provoke anger and outrage, with immigration long being one of the targets of the show.
Other organizations supporting the ouster effort include America’s Voice, the Asian American Justice Center, Communications Workers of America, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA).