ALLIANCE, Ohio - A 30-year-old woman with Down syndrome accidentally called into a radio show and her family says the bullying that followed was unacceptable.
Kellie Baker mistakenly called the The Mo Show on Q92 in Alliance on Jan. 21 looking to speak with her friend, Kelly Ann Burkhart. Part of the conversation she had with DJ Mo went something like this:
Mo: You what, the who, the where?
Kellie: I talk to Kelly Ann Burkhart.
Mo: You what?
Kellie: OK. I want to talk to your daughter. Kelly Ann Burkhart.
Mo: Eh, Uh… I don’t want to come across-- obviously you have some sort of a speech impediment.
Kellie: Uh… No, this my voice.
Instead of Mo just explaining to her that she has the wrong number, he decides to poke fun at the woman. (You can read the full transcript here: http://5.wews.com/hgYrQ)
Mo: Alright, you want to talk to--- do you know you called a--- [coughs]. Pardon me. Do you know you called a radio station?
Mo: Oh yes, you called a radio station.
Kellie: Oh yes I did, yes I did. I’m sorry.
Mo: OK, yes, well now you know you called a radio station.
Kellie: Yes I did.
Mo: Yes you did.
Kellie: Sorry about that.
Mo: Yes you did, yes you did. Yes, you’re talk to Mo. Do you know who Mo is?
Mo: You don’t know who Mo is?
Mo: OK, so I can laugh at you and you won’t know who to call and say you‘re offended. (laughs) Very good.
--- ends phone call----
Later, a listener, who said she was a medical professional, called into the show and alerted Mo that Kellie may be deaf or suffer from Down syndrome. That's when Mo complained about how hard his job is in order to gain the support of his listeners.
Kellie's family doesn't want Mo fired, rather to raise awareness about Down syndrome. In a prepared response, the radio station made the following statements:
Q92 and The Mo Show would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm its support of efforts to raise awareness regarding the challenges faced by people with developmental disabilities. Specifically, the station wishes to sincerely apologize again for any actions or comments that could be construed as making light of the challenges faced by persons that are developmentally disabled or casting those persons in any humorous light. The station’s policy is to treat our callers and listeners with the utmost respect, professionalism, and sensitivity.
Q92 and Ms. Baker’s family have been in communication since the call aired on January 21 with the goal of raising awareness regarding the challenges faced by people with developmental disabilities. When contacted by the family on January 22, the station immediately apologized and reiterates its policy of treating all callers and listeners with the utmost respect and professionalism. The station has engaged with Ms. Baker’s family in an effort to work in conjunction with Natalie Lupi, superintendent of the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Bill Green, superintendent of the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities to discuss opportunities to collaborate in raising awareness towards people who are developmentally disabled. Q92 is committed to continuing to work with Ms. Baker’s family and these important community organizations to promote these goals.