A Boston, Massachusetts, sports radio host was suspended without pay over comments he made that appeared to be racially insensitive.
Cohost Mike Felger announced that Tony Massarotti had been suspended from their show, "Felger and Mazz," on Tuesday by Sports Hub 98.5, according to the Boston Herald.
“Mazz will not be joining us today,” said Felger. “Because Beasley Media strives to create a diverse and inclusive workplace, and these comments went against its core values, the company has decided to suspend Tony for the rest of the week without pay."
A week prior to the suspension, Massarotti made a joke about people who were sitting behind Felger in New Orleans, Louisiana, some of whom were black.
“Yeah, I want to know now who the two guys behind you are, that’s what I want to know. Because if I were you," said Massarotti.
"They can’t hear us, right?” he continued. “OK, so I would be careful if I were you because the last time you were around a couple of guys like that, they stole your car.”
Massarotti was referring to Felger's previous trip to New Orleans, during which his car was stolen after he left the keys inside and ran out to see if he could get into a show downtown.
In addition to his suspension, the company ordered that the on-air employees of 98.5 the Sports Hub undergo sensitivity training.
'I wish I could take them back'
The host apologized for the comments on Monday.
“I made some comments that angered and upset some people, and rightfully so,” Massarotti said.
“I wish I could take them back. I can’t. They were insensitive, they were hurtful, and frankly they hurt the cause for those of us who believe in racial and social equality and all of those things. And I do, I’m on that side of the line," he added.
“I owe everyone an apology,” Massarotti concluded. “It’s not who I am. It’s not who we are.”
Felger also apologized for not stopping the show.
Despite the apology, the head of the New Democracy Coalition of Massachusetts called for the host's suspension Monday.
“The statement made by Mr. Massarotti may have been made in innocence, but it was highly insensitive,” said Rev. Kevin Peterson, the founder of the group.
“His apology should be accepted. But he and his station must do more than respond to this issue beyond mere lip service," Peterson added.
Here's more about the Massarotti suspension:
Boston sports radio host Tony Massarotti under fire for racist comment | New York Post Sportswww.youtube.com
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