Flashback: Beck forced to apologize for "mocking Asians" in 1995

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

More and more examples of Glenn Beck's "racial hang-ups" are turning up -- from his "funny 'black guy' character" to the Mexican stereotypes in his newest book -- and yet another one has surfaced from Beck's days at WKCI in New Haven, Connecticut. According to an October 20, 1995, Hartford Courant article headlined, "Station Apologizes for Mocking Asians":

Under pressure from activist groups, a New Haven-area radio station agreed Thursday to apologize for broadcasting a sketch that offended Asian Americans and for ridiculing a man who called to complain.

The agreement with New Haven- based WKCI-FM was called an important victory by a coalition of four Asian-American groups, which represent one of Connecticut's smallest but quickly growing ethnic groups.

The negotiations between the station and the groups began as the result of a call to the station in August from Zhihan Tong, a 28-year- old computer network technician.

Tong was driving from his New Haven-area home to his job in Danbury when he tuned in to the station, commonly known as KC101, for a traffic report.

Instead, he heard Alf Papineau, the morning show's executive producer, pretending to speak Chinese to a bewildered Asian-American owner of a Chinese restaurant supposedly for sale. The piece was a canned segment. Neither the restaurant nor the owner was real; they existed only as taped dialogue from a comedy service subscribed to by the station.

When Tong telephoned WKCI- FM to protest the broadcast as a racial slur, disc jockeys Glenn Beck and Pat Grey made fun of him. The two played a gong in the background several times, and Papineau, the executive producer, mocked a Chinese accent.

Incensed, Tong called human rights organizations from Boston to New York, and eventually tapped into a small but increasingly vocal network of Connecticut Asian- American activist groups.

Under pressure from four of the groups, which formed the "Connecticut Asian American Coalition Against KC101 Racism," the radio station agreed Thursday to extensive remedies, including an apology to air in coming weeks and representation of Asians on a newly formed community advisory committee.

Something to keep in mind the next time Beck attacks someone as a racist or demands to know "who divided us."

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Glenn Beck
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