John & Ken Show Hosts Suspended For Inflammatory Comments About Whitney Houston
Blog ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD
John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, hosts of Los Angeles radio show The John & Ken Show, were suspended by KFI-AM on Thursday after referring to the late Whitney Houston as a "crack ho" and wondering why her death "took this long" during their February 14 broadcast. Listen:
KEN CHIAMPOU (co-host): We are going to bring you up to date now with all we know about the death of Whitney Houston. Radar Online has another great story. We told you yesterday that even though Whitney Houston died at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the reason that she was there was the pre-Grammy party, hosted by her mentor, Clive Davis. The latest story posted is that Clive Davis met with Whitney Houston's family after her death, including daughter Bobbie Christina, provided words of comfort, and then went ahead with the pre-Grammy party, and of course the Whitney Houston family was stunned. He didn't even mention the party, but he was dressed in a tux --
SHANNON FARREN (news correspondent): Ohhh.
CHIAMPOU: -- and he stood there, he comforted them, and then he eventually left the suite, and said see you later.
JOHN KOBYLT (co-host): I've got to go, there's a bunch of people waiting for me downstairs.
FARREN: And I want to dance with somebody.
CHIAMPOU: He made a statement at the party concerning the death of Whitney Houston, but the family members thought that was just inappropriate, that he went ahead with the festivities.
KOBYLT: Well, I have a real life question here, though.
KOBYLT: Whitney Houston has been cracked out for 20 years right? And we got a glimpse of her behavior -
CHIAMPOU: You are going to find out that she denies using crack.
KOBYLT: Yeah, I know.
CHIAMPOU: Cocaine, though, she didn't deny.
KOBYLT: Yeah, all right. So she's cracked out for 20 years, and we heard about, you know, how obnoxious she was at these parties, and she's doing handstands, and she's babbling like an idiot and running around, and, you know -
CHIAMPOU: Wet hair.
KOBYLT: Yeah, she is a mess, OK?
CHIAMPOU: Mismatched clothes.
KOBYLT: Yeah, it's bag lady time. Now, she has been doing this for 20 years, blew through her money, ruined her voice.
CHIAMPOU: I heard she blew through $100 million.
KOBYLT: Oh, yeah. She was, for practical purposes, broke. You know, I am sure there is always royalty money coming in, but -
FARREN: Crack would've been cheaper.
KOBYLT: So, how much of a pain in the ass do you think she was? Can you imagine - you're Clive Davis, and she has not been -- she hasn't had her head screwed on right for 20 years? And at some point you're just sick of it all. And so is everybody else in the industry -- all her friends and hangers-on, just everybody who knew her had to deal with this and were like, oh Jesus -
FARREN: But you wait to put the tuxedo on.
KOBYLT: Here comes the crack ho again, what's she going to do? Oh, look at that, she's doing handstands next to the pool. Very good, crack ho, nice - but -- after a while everybody's exhausted. And then you find out she's dead. It's like, really, took this long? I am just saying that's the natural reaction, people get worn out by this stuff.
CHIAMPOU: We do not know if Clive Davis had that reaction.
KOBYLT: But I wouldn't be surprised -- I would understand if he did. I would understand if everybody, or most people who knew her, who really had to deal with her, were like, God, who wants to deal with a drug addict? Because after a while it's like, you know what, I didn't care if you had a hit record 20 years ago, you're a pain in the ass. You know, you can't talk to a drug addict, you can't make plans. They're not fun to be around. They're crazy.
FARREN: God, she's barely cold.
Kobylt apologized for the comments, saying: "We made a mistake, and we accept the station's decision. We used language that was inappropriate, and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston."
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), an organization engaged in a campaign to inform companies that advertise during John & Ken of the inflammatory language used by the duo, applauded KFI's move. But Alex Nogales, NHMC president and CEO, said that the temporary suspension is "not enough" and called on KFI to fire Kobylt and Chiampou because of their long history of inflammatory rhetoric:
The National Hispanic Media Coalition, NHMC, applauds KFI managers for finally taking action against hate mongers John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI's afternoon drive-time program, "The John and Ken Show." For two decades John and Ken have spewed hate in the Los Angeles community while KFI has profited from their vitriol.
"A temporary suspension is not enough. How many times do John and Ken get to spew their hate, apologize and then do it again after taking off a long weekend? KFI must permanently remove John and Ken from the air. Los Angeles deserves better," said Alex Nogales, NHMC President & CEO.
In the past, Clear Channel, KFI's parent company, has defended Kobylt and Chiampou's actions. Last September, Clear Channel wrote a letter to Nogales defending the hosts' airing the personal cell phone number of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera -- an action which resulted in Cabrera receiving hundreds of threatening calls. The hosts denied responsibility, stating repeatedly that Cabrera's phone number was part of a press release, and therefore public information.
The hosts' suspension has drawn a variety of responses from other media figures. Fox News' Sean Hannity defended the duo on the February 16 edition of his show, claiming that people will "never accept their apology ... everybody's gotta be perfect." During a panel discussion on Hannity about the comments, The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto called them "tasteless," and Republican strategist Dee Dee Benke said that they were "very wrong and over the top."
Fox Business' Don Imus -- who was fired from his CBS radio show in 2007 for referring to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" -- called Kobylt and Chiampou "two unfunny losers." Watch: