Assemblymember William Colton of the 47th District has come out strongly critical of the distasteful broadcast that was aired on Hot 97 during the week of Jan. 21.
"The Tsunami Song," which contained racial overtones and ridiculed the suffering of 200,000 victims of the Asian disaster was broadcast to thousands of morning listeners of the popular hip-hop station. Over the past week, the station and its DJ’s have drawn an onslaught of criticism for its insensitive and racial remarks.
The lawmaker relates the loathsome remarks to slurs made against other ethnic groups. For instance, the Sopranos, a televised drama series depicting Italians as mobsters, continues to convey an offensive and false image of the Italian community. "An attack on one group is an attack against us all, whether it is made towards Asians, Italians, Irish or so on. We are all in this world together," said Colton.
"What is also unacceptable and deplorable is any effort made by people to cover up or downplay such incidents. Any kind of racial or ethnic slurs should be dealt with and treated seriously because it tears away at the democratic fabric of our society," he added, as the controversy of the broadcast continues to reverberate throughout the community.
Despite angry calls to the station, Miss Jones, the host of "Miss Jones in the Morning" show continued to air the song a total of four times before she and the station issued an apology on Friday, Jan. 21.
The Hot 97 incident has generated cries from community leaders and the public for the Federal Communication Commission to step in as it did in the Super Bowl incident just last year.
"The FCC should impose a sanction commensurate with the severity of the incident. Public airwaves were used to disrespect, degrade and infuriate an entire group of people," charged the state lawmaker. "There is a fine line to be drawn here, but they shouldn’t be free with impunity. It’s not just an opinion it’s a personal attack on people."
The derogatory nature of this broadcast has renewed Colton’s effort to pass legislation that will make other offensive acts carry stiffer penalties. He will reintroduce legislation that will make vandalizing property with swastikas and burning crosses a felony rather than a simple misdemeanor. Colton’s legislation, in fact, passed the New York State Assembly last year. However, it did not come up for a vote in the State Senate.