As if there aren’t enough entities working against San Quentin Death Row inmate Stanley “Tookie” Williams, Clear Channel station KFI 640 AM hosts John and Ken of the John & Ken Show have decided to designate 5 p.m. as the “Kill Tookie Hour” everyday Monday through Friday until and if Williams is executed on December 13.
Somehow the execution of Williams has been deemed as “entertainment” at KFI, a station notoriously known for it’s blatant racism and bigotry not only against Blacks but Mexican immigrants as well.
Remember that is was KFI host John Zeigler who gloated that recently deceased famed Black attorney Johnnie Cochran was headed “straight to hell” for his role in the acquittal of O.J. Simpson.
But KFI has crossed the line…again, with their “Kill Tookie Hour.”
The core and the manner of the on-air remarks by John and Ken, which have been extremely distasteful towards Williams and his plight, are disturbing and offensive to say the least.
It’s a fact that the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech protects programming that "stereotypes" or otherwise offends people with regard to their religion, race, national background, gender or other characteristics, but John and Ken have taken the First Amendment too far with the designation of the “Kill Tookie Hour.” We must draw the line somewhere and this is it.
If any other radio station set aside an hour as “Kill President Bush” and set forth in that hour to incite a riot among people and to call for the death of the President, you best believe the Federal Communication Commission would be all over that station. Fines and penalties would be assessed and Bush supporters everywhere would be calling for the yanking of that stations license.
Los Angeles is a sensitive city. Race relations continue to be a major issue in our city. It is clear that John and Ken are trying to play on the emotions of Blacks in Los Angeles as it relates to the Williams’ execution and pit whites, who are perceived as being against clemency for Williams, against Blacks who are perceived as supporting clemency for Williams for “entertainment” purposes.
It does the City of Los Angeles a disservice and all who have worked and to continue to work towards peace, to have white on-air personalities like John and Ken ridicule an obviously sensitive situation for many Blacks that feel that Williams was the victim of a racist jury composed mainly of whites. I do not need to remind you of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots that were the result of four Los Angeles police officers being acquitted in the beating of Rodney King.
No one is disputing KFI’s right to speak their mind on the execution of Williams, but it is irresponsible of the station’s management to allow for their radio hosts for the purposes of “entertainment” to perpetuate hate over public airwaves.
Following around community leaders and activists who are speaking out in defense of Williams only to use the sound clips in a parade of racism and bigotry labeled the “Tookie Must Die Hour” is cruel and negligent behavior on behalf of a radio station that broadcasts its views and opinions over public airwaves.
If by chance Williams was able to get a new trial, thanks to KFI there’s nowhere in Los Angeles where he could get a jury that hasn’t been tainted by KFI’s consistently irresponsible coverage of Williams’ predicament.
When Blacks speak out against racism and put a white face to it it’s considered racist but when two white radio “shock jocks” clearly promote racism on-air it’s considered freedom of speech and “entertainment.”
I’m not buying it and neither should you. Let’s hold KFI and Clear Channel accountable for their actions.