Friday, February 26, 2021

L-A Radio: Uproar at KCRW Over ‘Blatant Racism’ Allegation

The Santa Monica-based public radio station KCRW 89.9 FM is under fire after a former news producer alleged that she experienced a pattern of racist behavior while working there, the L-A Times reports.

Cerise Castle said in a podcast interview and on social media Monday that her time at KCRW was “marked by microaggressions, gaslighting, and blatant racism starting when I was physically prevented from entering the building multiple times within my first month of employment.”

She originally outlined her experiences in a farewell letter to staff last year after accepting a buyout, along with two dozen other station employees. On both the podcast, called “LA Podcast,” and Twitter, Castle, who worked at KCRW for a little more than a year and before that was a producer for Vice, decried the station’s lack of racial representation and accused management of appropriating her ideas.

Cerise Castle
“I’ve had employees tell me that my hair was ‘militaristic’ and that I remind them of a ‘gangsta,’” she wrote in the letter. “I have been screamed at in front of my intern and direct manager and nothing was done. When voicing my thoughts on segments and programming, I’ve been told that I am ‘loud’ and ‘angry.’ I’ve witnessed other staff say that ‘structural racism isn’t real’ and defend their qualifications for speaking on POC communities with their dating history.”

Last week, Castle alleged on Twitter that the station had claimed credit for an idea she had while she was employed there, for a newly announced content initiative called #MyBlackLA. In response to a tweet promoting the project by KCRW’s then-director of digital content, Drew Tewksbury, she said, “To me, this is a prime example of a media outlet using ideas originally pitched by Black employees after a mass exodus of Black workers.”

Now a freelance reporter, Castle, 27, stressed the lack of diversity among the ranks at KCRW. “They’ve got Black ideas, and they’re making them without any Black people,” she said on “LA Podcast.”

In a statement Tuesday, KCRW disputed some of Castle’s assertions and noted that it was not approached for comment by “LA Podcast” before the episode was released on Monday. The station added that, in the wake of allegations outlined in Castle’s farewell letter, last year it “took steps to address them and conducted a 4-month investigation” with an external law firm.

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