An Ohio radio DJ is facing a backlash after he made fun of a called with Down syndrome and broadcast the call live on the air.
Kellie Christine Baker did not mean to call the radio station and was instead trying to call a friend, but a misdial brought her to “Mo Show” at WDJQ-Q92 Radio in Alliance in eastern Ohio. There radio host Mos kept her on the line, making fun of her speech impediment and asking if she was a foreigner, the Columbus Dispatch noted.
The call took place on January 21 but has gained attention after Baker’s brother posted an account of the experience online. The post has gone viral with more than 7,000 shares.
During the call, the DJ asks Baker if she knows who he is.
“No,” she says.
“OK, so I can laugh at you and you won’t know who to call and say you’re offended. Very good.”
The full transcript of the call was put online by Scripps Media and can be found here.
Natalie Lupi, superintendent of the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said it was unfair for the DJ to exploit Baker’s disability and that the radio station made the wrong decision in airing the call. Though broadcast live, the call had been recorded off the air.
“I understand that you cannot alter your business practice in such a way as to prevent ‘accidental’ calls,” Lupi wrote in a letter to the station manager. She added that Q92 was “ethically obligated” to end the call “rather than capitalizing on an individual’s disability.”
The radio station has responded to the controversy, issuing a statement saying:
“Q92 and The Mo Show would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm its support of efforts to raise awareness regarding the challenges faced by people with developmental disabilities. Specifically, the station wishes to sincerely apologize again for any actions or comments that could be construed as making light of the challenges faced by persons that are developmentally disabled or casting those persons in any humorous light.”
The radio station that mocked the caller with Down syndrome noted that it is working to correct its actions, working with Lupi and Baker’s family to raise awareness of the challenges faced by those with disabilities.