MANAA Praises DirecTV for Reprimanding Former Howard Stern Disc Jockey For Soliciting Racist Jokes Inspired By Jeremy Lin

LOS ANGELES-Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA)–the only organization solely dedicated to monitoring the media and advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive depiction and coverage of Asian Americans–is praising DirecTV for disciplining two on-air talent who, after discussing New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, asked their listeners to call in with “the most racist Asian jokes you know.” Although the disc jockeys apologized two days later, they invoked the Ku Klux Klan and did not adequately explain what they had done. After MANAA asserted the apology was not enough, DirecTV placed them on probation.

On the February 15th “Nick and Artie Show” (produced by DirecTV Sports Group and syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks since October 3), Nick DiPaolo and former Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange asked their listeners to call in with their “most racist Asian jokes.” As an example, they offered Lin having to do teammate Carmelo Anthony’s laundry (the hour in which it occurred has since been taken off DirecTV’s website). They also criticized Woody Allen’s wife Soon-Yi for not showing enough enthusiasm at Knicks games, saying if she didn’t appreciate the United States, she should go back to the Philippines (she’s from Korea). Tuesday, MANAA Founding President Guy Aoki spoke with Chris Long, DirecTV’s Senior Vice President of Entertainment and Production, and Darris Gringeri, VP of public relations. They informed Aoki that although the solicitation did get callers, none of them were put on the air as someone realized it was a bad idea. Long told Aoki he’d learned of the broadcast the following night, spoke to the disc jockeys and their supervisor, and asked them to apologize.

After hearing the apology, MANAA’s board wasn’t satisfied. “Artie Lange wouldn’t even come clean on what they’d done,” said Aoki. “He referenced the New York Post headline ‘Amasian’ and took that as a sign it was fair game to ask his listeners to call in with other Asian puns. DiPaolo corrected him, admitting they’d actually asked for stereotypical jokes. Lange dug an even worse hole by saying: ‘Right, we want bad, awful jokes that you hear like from someone at a Klan meeting at 4 in the morning after a couple of scotches and you can make fun of him ‘cos it’s stupid. Uh, that’s what we wanted. And we wanted to make fun of that whole situation. And if we offended anybody in that process, we’re sorry about that ‘cos that’s not what we’re about here.’”Aoki asked rhetorically, “How can you say you wanted your listeners to hear what drunk Ku Klux Klan members would say and not think it would offend people?” Added MANAA board member Miriam Nakamura-Quan, “I was appalled and surprised that their lackluster apology included a reference to the KKK. They contradicted themselves in the worst kind of way. You can’t get any more extreme or offensive than by invoking the spirit of the KKK. That doesn’t seem like a sincere and honest apology to me.”

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MANAA Praises ESPN for Firing Over “Chink” Headline; Pushes For Better Oversight

LOS ANGELES-Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA)–the only organization solely dedicated to monitoring the media and advocating balanced, sensitive, and positive depiction and coverage of Asian Americans–is praising ESPN for its handling of employees who used “chink in the armor” when reporting on New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. Following the Knicks’ first loss in eight games Friday night, an ESPN mobile headline read: “Chink in the Armor” accompanied by a picture of Lin. Wednesday night, ESPN anchor Max Bretos also used the phrase in asking why Lin failed to perform as well as he’d done in the past.

Saturday, MANAA Founding President Guy Aoki spoke with Rob King, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of editorial, print, and digital media, who was upset that the unfortunate incidents had hurt the reputation of the network. King explained that ESPN executives knew there were two upcoming games involving Lin and wanted to prevent any off-color remarks in reporting, so on Wednesday at the company’s monthly editorial board meeting, they reminded their department heads to be careful. An e-mail to their employees went out that night and early Thursday morning. It wasn’t clear if Bretos (who later tweeted that his wife is Asian and that he meant no disrespect toward Asians) had seen the memo, but the editor who wrote the Saturday morning article and headline should have.

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