Friday, July 1, 2022

L.A. Morning Radio Host Calls Black Congresswoman a ‘Cheap Sleazy Democrat Whore’ (LISTEN)

*Full disclaimer, I listen to KFI 640 AM religiously. From Wake Up Call with Jennifer Jones Lee through the Tim Conway Jr. Show and even Jesus Christ on Sunday mornings.  I am both a fan of the shows as well as the news reporting.  

That said, I am also a Black woman and just like I took issue with John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI’s John and Ken show when after Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton they called her a “crack ho” on the air–I can’t remain silent about another KFI personality calling a Black woman a whore.

Who better than a listener to raise the issue of KFI morning show host Bill Handel of the Bill Handel Show calling South Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson a “cheap sleazy Democrat whore.”

It happened  the morning of Friday, October 20 during Handel’s regular segment with political strategist John Thomas.

In responding to comments from Thomas about Rep. Wilson blasting President Trump for telling the pregnant widow of a Sgt. La David Johnson killed in Niger that her 25-year-old husband “knew what he signed up for” Handel said, “I’m far more upset with her because that is a cheap affectation–she’s a cheap sleazy–ah–Democrat whore is what she is.  Okay–no excuse me–I’m being too generous to her.”

bill handel & frederica wilson
Bill Handel – Frederica Wilson

When Thomas, to his credit, tried to correct Handel and tone down Handel’s rhetoric, Handel repeated the slur by saying, “I would add the word whore. There are a few other words I could throw in there but I want to stay working here.”

This happened on Friday and I know I wasn’t the only person listening to KFI which is often in the top spot in the local radio ratings for the Los Angeles media market.  That means millions of daily listeners. But nothing has been said about Handel’s comments.  Why is that?  Do Black women not warrant the same respect as other women in this country?

In what part of today’s politically correct America is it okay for a radio host to refer to anyone as a whore on the radio–let alone a member of the House of Representatives?

Like John and Ken and Don Imus, Bill Handel is a white man who called a Black woman a derogatory name over public airwaves.

As someone who produces talk radio and is often in front of the mic, I would never get away with calling someone a whore on the air.  It just wouldn’t happen.

In a time where how women are treated is front and center, I find it unconscionable to believe that I was the only person who heard Handel call Rep. Wilson a whore and take issue with it.

While I know that the majority of KFI’s listening base is white and in a lot of ways politically conservative, calling a woman–any woman–a whore on the radio simply because the host disagrees with her actions is inexcusable and shouldn’t be glossed over so easily.  All women, not just Black women, have a responsibility to speak up and say that’s not okay.

If Bill Handel would have called one of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims a whore would we even be having this conversation about why what he said was wrong?  I doubt it.

Bill Handel owes Rep. Wilson an apology.  KFI and Bill Handel owe their listeners an apology.

The fact that Handel so brazenly repeated the slur says to me it was a slip of the tongue and that he doesn’t need sensitivity training, rehab or attorney Lisa Bloom to represent him.  He’s far beyond that.

KFI’s management must already know that what Bill Handel said wasn’t kosher as that segment is conveniently missing from Friday’s podcast of the show. Some would call that being complicit.

I listen to KFI and its hosts because they talk about the issues that I most care about–whether I agree or not with the hosts.  As a Black woman and as a listener I don’t want to hear other women called whores.

It wasn’t cute when John and Ken called Whitney Houston a “crack whore” and it’s not cute now. 

KFI needs to do the right thing about Handel’s egregious choice of words and their ongoing problem with how their hosts refer to Black women.

jasmyne cannick
Jasmyne Cannick

Jasmyne Cannick is a nationally known writer and commentator on political, race and social issues. She was selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World, one of the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40, one of Los Angeles’ Most Fascinating Angelenos by the L.A. Weekly and one of 40 People Under 40 by the Advocate. She’s worked in the U.S. House of Representatives and at all levels of government helping to shape public opinion and encourage civic engagement while advocating for underrepresented and marginalized communities in the political arena. Follow her on Twitter @Jasmyne and on Facebook @JasmyneCannick.

 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. He’s a pig. He needs to apologize to the Congresswoman. Better yet, he should be fired. I am an older white woman and outraged that this man pig can get away with something like this.

  2. If you continued to listen to the show after the Whitney Houston comment, and will presumably listen to the show after this, why on *earth* do you think they’re going to change their behavior? You’ll apparently put up with anything.

    No consequences? No action.

  3. But its perfectly OKAY for that congressman to disrespect the President of the United States by calling him a white nationalist! Look in the mirror HYPOCRITES!

  4. @Tekwrite Don’t be a fool…No one has to disrespect your president “45”.. He don’t even respect himself or anyone.I know its hard for all you supporters thought you getting more Jobs, better healthcare and riddance of the Opioid epidemic…WAKE THE F___K UP!!! You been Bamboozled and hood-Wigged!!

  5. Unless he has actually paid the Congresswoman for sex, Bill Handel owes a public apology, and he needs to lose his job. Because he isn’t doing a very good one.

  6. Bill Handel should be fired!! Nobody has the right to call anyone a whore!! It seems since tRump took office, these pigs are coming out of the woodwork!!

    • while this likely is false and libelous as regards this lady Congressperson, there are many in the Congress that are literally whores, selling their oaths, their allegiances, their ethics, morals and good character and compared to same, make actual prostitutes seem like hard working, honest service industry employees…

  7. When I heard about this BLATANT DISRESPECT of Congresswoman Wilson I called KFI’s news line and told them how disappointed I was. As a Black women who also listens to KFI (thanks to my ex boyfriend), I listen to Bill Handel every morning (but not this morning and not from now on). And I listen to John and Ken too. He needs to be SUSPENDED! NOW. Enough with his disrespect of Black women and women in general. I’m beyond disappointed in him. Shame on you Bill Handel.

  8. Every one is a whore to such simpleminded thinkers, who relish the dark climate and cavort in the discord created by the Trump Doctrine of Eff Everything! Look at the angry guy: not aging well, receded hairline, bland stature; he’s like a drowning man – desperately clutching for 15-second straws of attention.

  9. Not agreeing with Congresswoman Wilson’s views is one thing. Calling her a whore is entirely something else. To think Bill Handel has yet to be called on the carpet and given a PINK SLIP is amazing. This clearly gives me pause to stop and wonder what kinds of values the station espouses. Discourse is one thing; disgusting name calling is something else entirely.

    Is this what Bob Pittman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, is about? Do you support Bill Handel’s calling Congresswoman Wilson a whore? What about Dick Bressler, President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Is it okay with you? Do you also think the congresswoman is a whore?

    And Wendy Goldberg, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Office, and Gayle Troberman, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, I am particularly curious about your positions on this matter. How should I interpret your silence on this issue? If you were to have a disagreement with Bill Handel….about a political point of view…..about something important where he vehemently disagreed with you…..would it be okay for him to call you whores? And not to call you whores in the privacy of his home or even at a cocktail party where he would presumably be surrounded by people with opinions similar to his own…..but let’s just say he called the two of you whores across the airwaves. I ask you, what would you do?

    I assume that, like nearly 2/3 of American women in the workplace, you’ve experienced first hand the lack of respect women of all races and religions have experienced. Harvey Weinstein is just one example of a larger than life personality treating women with a lack of respect. I assume you’re concerned about all women. Do you see, can you feel how painful Bill Handel’s lack of respect is to all women? Or are you only concerned where you are personally attacked….but really don’t care if a black woman in Florida is attacked.

    And what about Bob Walls, Scott Wells, Bill Ecclshare, John sykes, and Steve Mills? Will you, the leadership at IHeartMedia, stand together for what is right. What is right, in case you don’t know, is civility….we can disagree and we can debate, but we cannot denigrate.

    Stand up for what is right…..what is supposed to be an American value and tell Billy Handel that he has disrespected our American values for the last time and that his “ass is out of here.”

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