Protests and dismay have spread nationally over the Jan. 18 decision by a New York City Emmis Broadcasting radio station (HOT 97 WQHT-FM) to repeatedly broadcast the anti-Asian “Tsunami Song.” A racial parody of “We are the World” — the 1985 famine-relief song for Africa — described God laughing at the tsunami victims with the racial slurs “chink” and “Chinamen.” It also described the drowning victims as “bitches.”
When an Asian American employee, “Miss Info,” protested the playing of the song that morning, “Miss Jones” (a.k.a. Tarsha Jones) rebuked her, and DJ Todd Lynn then added, “I’m gonna start shooting Asians.”
As of last Monday, Lynn was reportedly fired by the station.
His firing comes as more than 45,000 have signed a protest petition on the Asian Media Watch website at www.asianmediawatch.net/missjones/index.html. Last Friday, in chilly weather outside the Emmis station, more than 200 protested — led by local and out-of-state college students and New York City Councilman John Liu. Major sponsors of the station — Coca Cola, Sprint, Toyota, McDonalds and Reebok — have pulled their advertising.
Even at last weekend’s Asian American Music Conference in Burlingame, Calif., some attendees shook their heads and listened in stunned silence to an extended morning show clip.
Since the airing, Miss Jones in the Morning and its seven-member crew have been indefinitely suspended. The crew has donated a week’s pay to tsunami relief.
Lyrics have been reprinted on Page 5, along with excerpts of on-air conversations between the DJs and newscaster “Miss Info” and a listing of all Emmis radio stations nationwide.
Asian Media Watch founder Kai Yu — whose organization led the first protests — said the event is part of a pattern: “The hosts of a competing radio program, the Star and Buck Wild show, on Monday, January 17, broadcast their ‘Call to India’ where Star threatens an Indian call-center operator by calling her a ‘filthy rat eater’ [and] a ‘bitch’ and threatens to ‘choke’ her. The next day, January 18, Miss Jones broadcast the ‘Tsunami Song.’ I don’t believe in such coincidences.”
Yu’s AMW is seeking an apology and the cancellation of the morning show from the station and Emmis Communications.
Kai Yu, founder of Asian Media Watch:
“This song represents a culture of hatred and division spread by companies in the name of ‘humor,’ then later masked with insincere apologies, justified as simply being ‘tasteless,’ all for the purpose of profit and to detriment of our communities.”
“Miss Info,” Asian American newscaster:
“That song is really offensive to me, and I opted not to involve myself.”
“Miss Jones” (Tasha Nicole Jones), lead DJ, responding to “Miss Info”:
“I know you feel you’re superior because you’re Asian, but you’re not.”
DJ Todd Lynn, morning show co-host with “Miss Jones”:
“I’m gonna start shooting Asians.”
Jeffrey H. Smulyan, chairman and CEO
One Emmis Plaza
40 Monument Circle, Ste. 700
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (317) 266-0100
Fax: (317) 631-3750
Barry Mayo, general manager
Hot 97 WQHT-FM
395 Hudson St., 7th Fl.
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 229-9797
Fax: (212) 929-8559
“We’re not seen as a group to be afraid of or one to be respected.”
— Margaret Fung, director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
“Shame on you, HOT 97, for insulting Asians everywhere …”
— Amy Lin Meyerson, president-elect of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
“If these DJs intended to shock their listeners, they have succeeded, and now the station management must face the consequences.”
— Adriano Espaillat Espaillat, chair of the 44-member Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus of New York state
“I think it’s a disgrace. If it were about September 11, would there be a song like that?”
— Nasty Nes, hip hop pioneer, DJ, producer and head of Crazy Pinoy Promotions
“… I don’t see any reason for meeting with them unless they come up with something important. Racial sensitivity training for all of the staff is good, but that’s not enough.”
— New York City Councilman John Liu
“F—k the ‘Tsunami Song’ and whoever thought of it. / Matter fact, f—k the engineer that recorded it. / And the brains behind the scenes, that applauded it /”
— Rapper Jin
“Miss Jones and all participating members of the morning show crew remain on indefinite suspension. Further, HOT 97 is redirecting the full salaries of those individuals to charities aiding in tsunami relief for the duration of this suspension.”
— HOT 97
Contributors: Julie D. Soo, Christina Fa, Sam Chu Lin, Heather Harlan and Eugenia Chien. Soo is a member of the NAPABA Rapid Response Media Team.
Growing National Coalition Against HOT 97
• Asian Media Watch
• Organization of Chinese Americans
• South Asian American Voting Youth
• African Americans in Law Enforcement
• National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
• National Association of Asian-American Law Enforcement Commanders
• Association of Caribbean-American Elected Officials and Leaders
• Hindu Temple Society of North America
• Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam
• National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
• Korean American Community Foundation
• Asian Americans for Responsible Broadcasting
• Korean American League for Civic Action
• Asian Media Watchdog
• Asian American Bar Association of the State of New York
• Chinatown NYC
• David Wong Support Committee
• GenAsian Network
• Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
• Media Action Network for Asian Americans
• National Association of Asian American Professionals
• National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 294
• National Immigrant Community Empowerment
• National Immigrant Solidarity Network
• NY Asian Women’s Center
• Project Impact NY
• Chinese Consolidated Benvolent Association
• Assemblyman Jimmy Meng
• New York City Council members
• Chinese American Citizens Alliance
• Committee of 100
• Japanese American Citizens League
Top Four Investors in Emmis Communications:
1. FMR Corporation (Fidelity Management & Research Corp)
2. Westport Asset Management Inc.
3. Eubel Brady & Suttman Asset Management Inc.
4. Barclays Bank Plc (San Francisco)
(800) 777-8389 (Option 3)