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San Fernando Valley JACL's Continuing Work Fighting Hate Speech

posted Mar 24, 2012, 2:15 PM by San Fernando Valley JACL   [ updated Mar 24, 2012, 2:44 PM ]
Spearheaded by board member Patty Takayama, the San Fernando Valley JACL has been working with different community groups such as the National Hispanic Media Coalition to fight against hate speech on the airwaves.  

We have been specifically concerned with the inflammatory rhetoric on the "John and Ken Show" on KFI 640AM which has long targeted immigrants, Latinos, and Asian Americans.   In addition to stoking the flames of racial prejudice by intimating Koreans are innately "scammers," the hosts called upon listeners to intimidate and harras a local immigrant rights activist by releasing his personal contact information over the airwaves.

According to the NHMC...

For years, John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, hosts of "The John and Ken Show" on the radio station, KFI, have terrorized Los Angeles’ Latino, Asian American and African American communities, creating an atmosphere of hate and intolerance and legitimizing violence and discrimination against members of these groups. On September 1st, 2011, John and Ken began one of their usual rants about undocumented immigrants and the California DREAM Act. While John and Ken have a history of demonizing Latinos as they pretend to stick to the issues, their September 1st rant went too far. They took it upon themselves to target one immigrant rights activist in particular, Jorge-Mario Cabrera of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Instead of taking issue with Jorge-Mario's politics, the duo provided Mr. Cabrera’s office and personal cell phone numbers and encouraged their listeners to call and harass him. Mr. Cabrera proceeded to receive over 430 abusive and threatening calls. Many of the callers repeated John and Ken’s exact words, and then wished death upon Mr. Cabrera and/or threatened his life and his physical safety. And indeed, many callers directly referenced John and Ken in their nasty messages.

Hate speech should have no place in our society. While we endorse a lively and vigorous debate about contemporary issues and policies we will challenge any type of rhetoric that antagonizes, endangers, and dehumanizes individuals and communities.  

Ms. Takayama has assembled some helpful documents to guide readers through the recent examples of hate speech on the airwaves below.  We are also suggesting that consumers interested in challenging hate speech on air write to the sponsors of the "John and Ken Show" demanding accountability. 
Due to the activism of a variety of community organization, the LA City Council recently passed a resolution urging KFI to repudiate hate speech based on race and gender and work towards hiring a more diverse staff.  You can read the entire resolution here.  Our local councilmembers, Tony Cardenas and Richard Alarcon signed onto a later version of the resolution.