The controversial hosts of Los Angeles-area radio program The John & Ken Show have been back on the air for more than two weeks following their suspension for inflammatory comments about late singer Whitney Houston, but there is still no sign of them on L.A.'s KTLA-TV.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) said Monday that KTLA has not aired its daily "Driving it Home with John and Ken" segment since John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou -- hosts of KFI-AM's The John & Ken Show -- returned from being suspended by KFI after calling Whitney Houston a "crack ho" and wondering why her death "took this long."
NHMC stated in its March 12 press release:
Today the Take John and Ken Off the Air campaign celebrates a victory. For two weeks KTLA News' daily segment, "Driving it Home With John and Ken," has been off the air. This, after the campaign encouraged thousands of people to call Don Corsini, KTLA President and General Manager, and urge him to be a responsible broadcaster and drop the hatemongers from the local news program. We applaud him and his management team for doing the right and moral thing.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) also leads the "Take John and Ken Off the Air" campaign, which commenced in October of 2011 and has been joined by over 40 national and local organizations. The campaign has mobilized over 15,000 people to sign petitions asking Clear Channel to drop John and Ken. Clear Channel briefly suspended John and Ken in February after they referred to Whitney Houston as a "crack ho," but the duo returned to Clear Channel after less than two weeks off. Clear Channel has ignored the community's request that it be a responsible broadcaster and remove hate and divisiveness from its public airwaves, despite that eighteen major corporations have promised to no longer advertise on "The John and Ken Show," and dozens of other advertisers have quietly dropped the show without making a formal commitment.
If the recent controversy surrounding Clear Channel veteran Rush Limbaugh's recent remarks teaches us anything, it is that people -- and responsible advertisers -- are fed up with Clear Channel using its dominance in the radio market to push hate and extremism over the public airwaves.
"The time is ripe for the public to reclaim its public airwaves from irresponsible broadcasters that opt for trafficking hate for the sake of profit," said Alex Nogales, National Hispanic Media Coalition President & CEO.
John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been noticeably absent from their 6 p.m. nightly KTLA-TV newscast, "Driving it Home with John and Ken," following their suspension for calling the late Whitney Houston a "crack ho" on February 16. The "Driving it Home" page on KTLA's website has not been updated since February 15.
The hosts, who returned from their week-long suspension on February 27, participate in the daily simulcast with KTLA at 6:40 p.m. But according to the Los Angeles Times, the hosts' remarks about Houston "may have cost them their nightly gig at KTLA-TV Channel 5. The team was missing Wednesday from its usual nightly simulcast spot during KTLA's 6 p.m. newscast, and sources say they have been absent from the newscast all week." A Media Matters review of this week's John & Ken broadcasts show that no KTLA simulcasts have occurred since the hosts returned to their KFI show.
KTLA executives declined to comment about Kobylt and Chiampou, according to the Times.
However, a spokesman for Kobylt and Chiampou told LA Weekly that the hosts' absence from KTLA has been a result of "scheduling issues with the cameraman this week" and not related to the remarks made about Houston. No mention of these scheduling issues has been made during this week's broadcasts of The John & Ken Show.
One KTLA personality, though, recently slammed Kobylt and Chiampou over their latest remarks. Sam Rubin, KTLA's entertainment reporter, called the duo "[p]osers [and] provocateurs who will say anything and do anything to whip up anger, to portend outrage." He also criticized KFI for allowing the hosts to remain on the air:
RUBIN: I've made my feelings about John and Ken very clear. They're extremely successful, they're very popular, and they are in my view, fakes. Posers, provocateurs who will say anything and do anything to whip up anger, to portend outrage, and to get and keep listeners and to make money. And in my view, none of what they do is really about the public good or changing the political climate, and all of it is about money. And that's why calling Whitney Houston a prostitute who uses drugs a mere three days after she died doesn't get John and Ken fired, it just gets them suspended. Because they make much too much money for their radio station.
On February 15, KFI Los Angeles radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chaimpou of the John & Ken Show were suspended after Kobylt referred to the late Whitney Houston as a "crack ho." Following the suspension, Nancy Meza, an intern at the UCLA Dream Resource Center which studies labor, education and immigration issues, detailed her own experiences being targeted by John and Ken and their listening audience after the co-hosts read her cell phone number and email address on the air. In the Huffington Post, Meza noted that Kobylt and Chaimpou's comment "comes [as] no surprise" to regular listeners of the program and that the hosts "put nothing but hate speech on the radio waves." From the Huffington Post:
I have personally felt the hate and unprofessionalism that comes with their so-called reporting. On May 20, 2010, nine brave students held a civil disobedience action in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard in front of the West Los Angeles Federal Building to advocate for the passage of the DREAM Act. The nine demonstrators were all U.S. citizens and took this action in solidarity with their undocumented friends and classmates. One of the protesters was an Iraq War veteran.
Stationed only a few blocks away at a coffee shop with my lap top and cell phone, I was responsible for media outreach. From our makeshift office, I sent out press releases with updates and took calls from reporters. Identified as the media spokesperson on the press release, my cell phone number was listed and widely circulated for media purposes.
That afternoon, the John and Ken show publicly announced my cell phone number and email address on air, which had been intended for media purposes only, and launched a national campaign asking for my deportation. I received over 300 calls in one day and my phone and email were completely shut down. Many of the messages I received included death threats, among others. The disk jockeys also began selling t-shirts online as part of their campaign. "Deport Nancy Meza" was printed on the front of the shirt and a phone number to Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the back. It was available in different colors and sizes for about $30. Baby and toddler sizes included. I couldn't fathom the thought of parents buying "Deport Nancy Meza" t-shirts for their children and babies to wear.
This kind of anti-immigrant activism is typical for Kobylt and Chiampou. And this isn't the first time they've given out the personal information and cell phone number of an immigration advocate on the air -- or the first time their actions have resulted in death threats and harassment.
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:
During the January 30 broadcast of The John and Ken Show, hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou discussed California Gov. Jerry Brown's defense of a proposed ballot initiative that would raise tax revenue through additional levies on the wealthy and a temporary one cent increase of the state sales tax, which Brown delivered during an interview on Los Angeles ABC affiliate's Eyewitness Newsmakers.
According to Brown, this new revenue would benefit poor children by partially funding schools and various state welfare programs. In response, Kobylt wondered why he was "responsible for everybody's bad decision," claiming that "you don't get a benefit" from government spending on poor children. Kobylt concluded that poor children receiving government assistance were "little Solyndrites." From The John and Ken Show:
CHIAMPOU: Stop having kids if you are low income. Really? Half the kids born--come on. I don't care who you are, why can't you make a decision better than that.
KOBYLT: Why am I responsible for everybody's bad decision? Why do I have to invest in people when their parents don't seem to care? When the parents can't carefully plan a family. I mean really, how hard is it to slip on a condom?
CHIAMPOU: Well eventually that burdens just becomes too great, if it already isn't.
KOBYLT: It is--It's already too great. That's why we are bankrupt. We've got to many poor people. It's clear. We've got almost a third of the nation's welfare cases, just in this one state. A third.
KOBYLT: And you know, you don't seem to get a benefit from it either. These kids are largely dropping out of school. I mean if you look at LA the dropout rates are 60 percent. So we poor in all this medical care, food stamps, all these welfare benefits, then free education, and it goes on for 15 years , and then somewhere in the middle of high school they drop out and they go take a crap job, or not, and then--What did we put that money in for? What did we invest in?
KOBYLT: This is like Solyndra. All these kids are little Solyndrites.
CHIAMPOU: Yeah, they want our half a billion dollars.
KOBYLT: They take the money, and it's billions every year, and we get nothing out of it--
CHIAMPOU: In this case it's a $7 billion tax increase
KOBYLT: And they keep selling the same damn thing that they have been selling us for 50 years. It doesn't go anywhere. You don't get a benefit from investing in kids when they come from families who don't give a crap. And that's really the core of this. A lot of the families don't care. They just don't care. So what am I investing in their kids for? Or investing in them. I'm not interested. I don't have to be forced to pay money for this. It doesn't work.
During the January 16 broadcast of Clear Channel's The John and Ken Show, co-hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou discussed the 69th Golden Globes Awards with news contributor Shannon Farren. While discussing how many of the actresses appeared to be "emaciated," Kobylt claimed that "gay guys control...the whole Hollywood look" and that because "gays like bodies that remind them of 14 year-old boys," actresses have to look like "14 year-old boy stick figures." From The John and Ken Show:
FARREN: I don't watch [awards shows] because every time I do, I just want to feed them a burger, every actress I see. I just want to feed them, they look so emaciated.
KOBYLT: I know they look so--that's not attractive.
CHIAMPOU: But that's the game though. They have to be more emaciated than the other famous actress.
FARREN: Yeah, and this is the time of year.
KOBYLT: That's right. And it's because--
CHIAMPOU: They get jealous and see photos of someone thinner than them.
KOBYLT: Gay guys control the fashion industry and the casting industry and the whole Hollywood look. And gays like bodies that remind them of a 14 year old-boy. Guys like curves. Guys like curves. Absolutely, positively. It's biological, because a woman with curves looks like she can bear your children successfully and that's biologically what a man is looking for. So sexually a guy is much more turned on by a woman with curves than these 14 year old-boy stick figures. And that's how I know for sure, I don't need to do any research or any proof that it's gay guys who control the entire casting industry.
Kobylt's claim that "gays like bodies that remind them of a 14 year-old boy" suggests that gay men are largely attracted to children and invokes the persistent myth that gay people molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals In a 2010 post the Southern Poverty Law Center debunked this myth:
During the January 5 broadcast of Clear Channel's John and Ken Show, co-host John Kobylt discussed a suit he said he brought in a small claims court, claiming that he sued his "Korean painter" for not doing an adequate job. When news contributor Shannon Farren asked why "the fact he was Korean is relevant," Kobylt explained that "there's a lot of, like, Korean painter scam guys" and that "there's certain cultures that become involved in certain lines of work."
KOBYLT: I don't think anyone can have an attorney in small claims court, I went there once years ago --
KEN CHIAMPOU (cohost): It's like The People's Court, right?
KOBYLT: Yeah, exactly. It's your -- it's your argument against there's --
CHIAMPOU: You against them, and the guy listens and he picks a side.
KOBYLT: Because we went to small claims for that Korean painter, remember that guy?
CHIAMPOU: I forgot.
KOBYLT: Gave us the --
CHIAMPOU: And he didn't show up, right?
KOBYLT: He didn't show up, so we won a default judgment.
CHIAMPOU: And did you get the money? That's the key question.
KOBYLT: I think we got it off his bond, yeah. I think he actually had a state bond, and we got the money off of that.
FARREN: And the fact that he was Korean is relevant because?
KOBYLT: Oh, no, it is relevant, because --
CHIAMPOU: Good question, lawyer Shannon.
KOBYLT: Because there's -- because there's a lot of, like, Korean painter scam guys. There are certain cultures that --
CHIAMPOU: That is painting with a brush. Oh, here comes certain cultures.
KOBYLT: No, there's certain cultures that become involved in certain lines of work, and they bring their --
CHIAMPOU: And the word spreads that they can rip people off, like you.
KOBYLT: That's exactly right.
CHIAMPOU: The dumb Polish guy on the West Side.
KOBYLT: That's exactly right. Because they were charging way less money than an American painter, and my wife -- my wife went for the cheap bid, which we have never done again, because this is going back about 15 years. And, yeah, it really is -- they just invite all of their nephews and their brothers-in-law, and lets form a paint company, and let's do the quick squirt, squirt, squirt on the wall and disappear.
Inflammatory, racially charged rhetoric is nothing new on The John & Ken Show. Last October, Kobylt claimed that Native Americans should "probably [have been] better warriors" when discussing the gradual seizure of Native American lands by European immigrants. Last September, the hosts, while talking about the California DREAM Act, said that the parents of undocumented children "took jobs from Americans, and now the kid is taking grant money from the American kid. ... So now the theft is complete. Two generations. They stole your employment, now they're stealing your kids' education." The hosts also frequently use the pejorative "illegal alien."
Additionally, last September, the hosts aired the personal cell phone number of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera, who received hundreds of threatening calls as a result. The hosts denied responsibility, stating repeatedly that Cabrera's phone number was part of a press release, and therefore public information.
After a recent campaign by NHMC to educate advertisers about their anti-immigrant vitriol, Kobylt and co-host Ken Chiampou have been dropped by prominent advertisers such as AT&T, Verizon, and General Motors. Los Angeles-area grocery store chains Vons and Ralph's have also agreed not to advertise with The John and Ken Show in the future.
Despite these advertiser retreats, Kobylt and Chiampou vowed in October that "nothing on the show is changing. We're going to talk about illegal aliens all we want," promising more of the reckless rhetoric that has led to numerous advertiser retreats.
The John & Ken Show airs weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. PT on KFI, a Clear Channel network, and reportedly has an audience of 1.2 million listeners.
During a visit on October 27 to the location of the Occupy Los Angeles protest, John & Ken Show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou debated a protester named "Richard." During their conversation, the hosts said that Native Americans should "probably [have been] better warriors."
Listen (the "better warriors" comment occurs around the 3:33 mark):
RICHARD: We were not invited here by the Native Americans. We were not invited here by the American Indians.
KOBYLT: But they didn't own it, they didn't have formalized ownership.
RICHARD: Well -
KOBYLT: It was free land. Anybody who came got it.
RICHARD: Because they weren't good business men, right? When we offered -- in 1854 we offered $150,000 to buy 2.2 million --
KOBYLT: I don't think we're going to undo that deal. I'm just talking about the now. I'm talking about the now in that --
RICHARD: You think the Native Americans should have been better business men. Clever, right?
JOHN: Probably better warriors.
CHAIMPOU: We've gotta take a break. Good talking with you.
During the October 14 broadcast of their Los Angeles-based KFI radio program The John and Ken Show, co-hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou responded to a campaign against their program that resulted in John and Ken being dropped by several prominent advertisers. The National Hispanic Media Coalition, who led an October 13 protest against the show, received written confirmation from advertisers that John and Ken would be dropped, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Kobylt and Chiampou referred to the outcome of the protest as an "economic boycott" and vowed that "nothing on the show is changing. We're going to talk about illegal aliens all we want."