Management at iHeartMedia has removed two KDNN Island 98.5 personalities from the station’s morning drive-time show after they mocked singer Paula Fuga at an on-air fundraiser for the Hawaii Foodbank, reports The Star-Advertiser.
Chuck Cotton, president and general manager of iHeartMedia, issued a statement Monday saying “Slick Vic” Harris and “KreyZ” Oshiro “are no longer part of the Island 98.5 Wake Up Crew.” Cotton did not say whether Harris and Oshiro had been fired. He said he could not share “any further details on personnel matters for privacy reasons.”
|KDNN Wake-Up Crew|
Harris and Oshiro teased Fuga about eating out of a garbage can after she disclosed during the Tanks Fo’ Giving Foodbank fundraiser that she had done so as a hungry child while living homeless on the beach.
Cotton and other executives from iHeartRadio Honolulu met with Fuga and her team Monday. Following the meeting, they joined Fuga in issuing this joint statement that said in part, “Fuga’s courageous transparency at Tanks Fo’ Giving has afforded a renewed opportunity to better support the crisis of community hunger in the islands. … Moving forward together, iHeartRadio Honolulu has committed all of its resources to build a coordinated campaign that will support a statewide mission to end hunger in Hawaii. We look forward to sharing those details in the coming week.”
Cotton said in a separate statement, “The on-air comments made by DJs ‘Slick Vic’ Harris and ‘KreyZ’ Oshiro this past Friday were highly insensitive and do not represent the values of Island 98.5 (or iHeartRadio Honolulu) and our commitment to the communities we serve.”
Cotton added, “We want to sincerely apologize to Paula Fuga and to any others who were offended. Please know that the situation has been addressed internally.”
Since the incident there’s been an outpouring of public support for Fuga from all walks of life, including other Hawaii entertainers like internationally famous musician Jack Johnson and Grammy award-winning recording artist Kalani Pe‘a.
By Monday evening a change.org petition, calling for “A wake-up call for the Wake Up Crew,” already had garnered more than 7,400 signatures. The petition, 808ne.ws/wakeup, asked that the Wake Up Crew and Island 98.5 “be held accountable and reprimanded to the fullest extent.”
During the radio fundraiser, she shared, “When I was a little kid, I used to be homeless on the beach, so I benefited from things like this, from people giving. It’s something that I really don’t talk about. … I’ve eaten from a trash can when I was a little girl. I’ve been hungry before.”
Then Harris interjected, “Is it right out of the trash can, or do you put it on a plate first?”
Fuga laughed but then said, “No, like I could cry thinking about it. Like in the dark with my hand from a trash can.”
Later she asked the hosts, “Do you have a box of tissues?”
In response, Harris joked, “No, but we got a trash can right over there by the bar.”
Oshiro, replied, “What, just in case she’s hungry?”
A visibly upset Fuga said, “I don’t eat from a trash can anymore.”
The visibly shaken Fuga was then escorted off the stage by Flash Hansen, 98.5 director of promotions and marketing.