Friday, March 31, 2017

Activists Want iHM To Fire Talker Michael Berry

Michael Berry
Texas-based talk host Michael Berry's apology for regularly mocking Chicago murder victims on his nationally syndicated radio show wasn't enough, the Chicago Urban League and the Rev. Michael Pfleger say.

And until Berry's bosses at iHeartMedia hold the man they recently anointed their "Talk Personality of the Year" accountable, Pfleger and the Urban League have warned, the issue isn't going away.

Berry, a former Houston City Council member and rising star in talk radio, for years mocked shooting victims in a regular segment called "Chicago Weekend Crime Update."

Three weeks ago he apologized and vowed to end the segment after liberal media-monitoring organization Media Matters and the Chicago Tribune reported how his jokes about murder victims included mocking the name of Tyjuan Poindexter, a blameless 14-year-old African-American boy who was killed by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting.

But, reports The Chicago Tribune, in a letter sent to iHeartMedia's CEO Robert Pittman, Pfleger, Chicago Urban League President and CEO Shari Runner and BBF Services President and CEO Rufus Williams say they met with Chicago-area iHeartMedia executives March 10, the same day that Berry apologized, and weren't impressed with the answers they got.

The radio giant "including its Board of Directors, benefits from listenership and sales in Black and brown communities yet it perpetuates racial stereotypes that are egregious, offensive, dangerous, and promotes intolerance and hate," the letter to Pittman says.

The letter calls for Berry to be fired and his national award to be rescinded and threatens action against iHeartMedia if it does not follow through. Though Berry's show is not broadcast in Chicago, the letter adds that iHeartMedia, which owns urban Chicago radio stations, including WVON-AM 1690 and WGCI-FM 107.5, has an "alarming lack of racial diversity" among its board and executives.

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