Calif Shock Jocks in Transgender Flap

By JUDY LIN
|  Saturday, Jun 6, 2009  |  Updated 12:15 AM CDT
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Calif Shock Jocks in Transgender Flap

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A handful of companies have pulled their advertising from a Sacramento radio station after two hosts advocated violence against transgender children.

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Bank of America, Verizon, Chipotle and other companies have pulled advertising from a Sacramento radio station after talk show hosts referred to transgender people as freaks with mental disorders.

During a May 28 show, one of the three hosts on KRXQ's "Rob, Arnie & Dawn" show said he would hit his child with his shoe if the boy wanted to wear high heels. Another said he would tell a boy he was "a little idiot" if he asked to wear a dress.

In response, transgender advocates and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have sought an apology from two of the show's three hosts, Arnie States and Rob Williams.

Officials with Bank of America Corp. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said Friday their companies pulled advertising because they found the comments offense. Representatives of Verizon Communications Inc. and Carl's Jr. restaurants also said they stopped advertising.

"At the end of the day, our issue here is that Rob and Arnie advocated violence against children because of who they are and have failed to take responsibility for their dehumanizing and defamatory words," said Rashad Robinson, senior director of programs at GLAAD.

The alliance said it was not criticizing the third host, Dawn Rossi, because she defended transgender people on the show.

John Geary, vice president and general manager of KRXQ, did not return a telephone message or e-mail Friday.

During a follow-up show Wednesday, States said he never advocated abuse. He said his comments were meant only as a joke and that he didn't do anything wrong, according to a report in The Sacramento Bee.

During the May 28 broadcast, States and Williams began discussing the California Supreme Court ruling uphold Proposition 8, the initiative on last November's ballot that banned same-sex marriage. The hosts then turned their attention to transgender children.

"If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him," States said on the air.

He went on to suggest that people will beat up high school boys who wear dresses: "I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy," States said.

Williams suggested transgender people suffered from a mental disorder.

"They are freaks. They are abnormal," he said. "Not because they're girls trapped in boys bodies, but because they have a mental disorder that needs to be somehow gotten out of them."

Bank of America spokesman Joe Goode said the company pulled advertising from the station because of the offensive comments.

"Our commitment to equality and diversity informs every aspect of our business, including our approach to advertising," Goode said. "We listened to the segment and the follow-up comments, and found it quite difficult to defend."

Chipotle shared that sentiment, said spokeswoman Lisa Kovitz. So did CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl's Jr., and Verizon Communications Inc., company representatives said.

Representatives of the gay and lesbian alliance said other companies have since pulled advertising. In a statement to the alliance, Nissan Motor Co. said it would not renew its advertising, which ended June 1.
 

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