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Do you have your BS detector ready? Need a moment to fire it up?
OK, here goes: Vay Cay Jay Severin, he of the long holidays, mega-salary and recycled jokes, has apparently been suspended “indefinitely” for remarks deemed offensive to Mexicans, according to the Globies:
Heidi Raphael, a spokeswoman for the station, said Severin had been suspended indefinitely. She declined to comment further.
George Tobia, Severin’s lawyer, said it was not clear how long his client has been suspended.
“All we know is it’s indefinite,” he said. “We’re just learning of it, and we’re dealing with it.”
Tobia said the station’s manager had received a flood of complaints in recent days about Severin’s comments about Mexicans and the swine flu.
“It would certainly be unfortunate if someone was suspended because some people didn’t like what he said, rather than it being warranted for being over the line,” Tobia said.
This story is bizarre on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin:
— WHAT exactly did Severin say? WTKK owner Greater Media won’t tell us.
— After so many previous credibility-crushing incidents that left him unscathed, why would he go down in flames over this?
— Why the sudden interest by the Globies in a talk radio story? It’s a subject they often avoid. One clue: it provides an opportunity to bash Republicans, since Severin claims to have been a consultant for the party in the past (although he makes it clear on the air he’s a “libertarian libertine”). Take a look:
It’s not the first time Severin, a former political consultant for the Republican Party, has faced criticism for derogatory comments about minorities. On a 2004 broadcast, he compared US Muslims to a fifth column, and when a caller suggested the United States should befriend Muslims, Severin responded: “You think we should befriend them; I think we should kill them.”
— Why remove a host over a “controversy” unknown to almost everyone in the region? Usually this kind of event is the culmination of a public termination campaign, but that’s clearly not the case here.
— Is this really about a company that can no longer afford Severin’s huge ($1,000,000+ per annum) salary and would rather not admit that? New PPM ratings have Howie’s camp crowing, including new promos calling him “number one”, a position once held by Severin.
UPDATE: the Herald’s Jessica Heslam provides important details missing from the Globie coverage:
The Spanish-language daily newspaper El Diario la Prensa in New York City, reported earlier this week that Severin was using the flu to attack Mexicans and immigrants.
“For Severin, Mexicans are ‘criminaliens’ and primitives who export venereal diseases to the United States,” the paper reported. “The shock jock referred to the strain of flu as ‘swine-aka-Janet Napolitano flu.’ ”
“That’s not the end of Severin’s anti-immigrant rants. Immigrants are leeches and their children, he warns, don’t speak English, will retard schools, add to crime and spread disease. Amid all of this, Severin has the audacity to state, ‘I don’t mean to hype the story,’ ” the paper said.
Severin bug eyes image: Stuart Cahill, Boston Herald