US media company, Clear Channel Inc. has moved swiftly to distance itself from the storm created last week when Dominic Dieter, a DJ at their Cleveland radio station, WMMS, went on air and apparently advocated the ‘corrective rape’ of a young gay woman.
The incident took place on WMMS breakfast show, “Rover’s Morning Glory”. Responding to an e-mail from a father worried that his daughter might be lesbian Dieter advised him to have a friend “screw [her] straight.”
Response was swift and furious. Several listeners filed reports with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), while GLAAD’s Director of News & Field Media Aaron McQuade stated: “It was appalling and dangerous for this show to tell a father that he should have one of his friends rape his daughter. That’s essentially how Dieter responded to this listener, and this is no laughing matter in a world where people are too often the victims of violence and sexual assault based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.”
An online petition was started demanding that WMMS fire the DJ – and over the weekend, this attracted over 2,500 signatures. Online, bloggers were quick to point out that ultimate ownership of WMMS and its current parent, Clear Channel can be tracked back to asset management and financial services company Bain Capital, whose founders included Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney.
In the light of the ferocity with which these comments were greeted, Clear Channel Inc. have been equally swift to back down. A spokesman for the company told PinkNews.co.uk yesterday: “WMMS is aware of the complaint regarding a recent comment made by Dominic Dieter that aired this past Friday. We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended. We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable.
“We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles. It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community. WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.”
Local online news service Cleveland.com reports that Dieter has been carpeted by station management and, subject to unspecified disciplinary action, has made a fulsome apology. According to a transcript sent to GLAAD, he is now telling listeners: “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said.
“I regret what I did say. My comments were inappropriate. They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid. And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.”
They further report that Clear Channel’s leaders have told Aaron McQuade that the station will air several public-service announcements stressing parental acceptance of a gay child’s lifestyle, and that they will also be inviting Equality Ohio, a gay-rights group, to become part of the WMMS Community Advisory Board.