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Long Island radio hosts suspended over fake story about homophobic mother

By Arturo Garcia
Monday, February 17, 2014 19:16 EDT
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Long Island morning DJs Leanna Karlson (L) and Steve Harper [Facebook]
 
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Two Long Island, New York radio hosts were suspended by their employer after they were caught making up a story about a girl who received a homophobic note from a young friend’s mother.

WCBS-TV reported that WJKY-FM hosts Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson first mentioned “Sophia” during their Feb. 12 show, saying her invitation for “Tommy” to attend her 7th birthday party was rejected by his mother because she is being raised by a gay couple. The two broadcasters also posted a photo online of the alleged invitation, which included the mother’s rationale.

“Tommy will not attend,” the note said. “I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your ‘lifestyle.’ I’m sorry Sophia has to grow up this way.”

But, in a post on its Facebook page on Sunday, the station revealed that Harper and Karlson made up the entire incident, without the approval of WJKY management, in an attempt to “spur a healthy discourse on a highly passionate topic.” The station’s general manager, Dave Widmer, also apologized for the stunt.

“K-98.3 has been serving Long Island for over 25 years and we respect the important role we play in the lives of our listeners,” Widmer was quoted as saying. “We deeply value our relationship with our listeners and are committed to providing them with the highest level of service because they deserve the very best.”

Meanwhile, David Kilmnick, head of the Long Island LGBT Services Network, told WINS-AM he planned to meet with Harper and Karlson to discuss their behavior.

“I truly believe there was no malcontent on their part, that this was something that they really wanted to discuss,” Kilmnick said. “It was just a stupid way to go about it.”

[Image via WJKY-FM official Facebook page]

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
 
 
 
 
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