On Kimberly and Beck’s Racist Comments

Legislator Barnhart issued the following statement on radio show host Kimberly and Beck’s on-air comments:

Our country is experiencing a painful reckoning on racism, inequality and oppression. The comments we heard on the Kimberly and Beck show demonstrate why.

For too long, iHeartRadio has allowed hate on its Rochester stations. We should be able to talk about politics and current events without engaging in the racism, homophobia and misogyny we hear all the time on iHeartRadio stations.

Those who complain are met with silence from management. Ratings have long been more important than civil and responsible discourse.

Like many local elected officials, I’ve gone on these shows because I think it’s important to talk with listeners who may not share my views. I want to give accurate information and share progressive viewpoints. I feel strongly that in our age of polarization, we should not exist in silos. I don’t feel comfortable writing off huge segments of our community, including constituents. But show hosts, knowing they have huge market shares and control over airwaves, abuse their enormous power. It has to end.

Being anti-racist means we have to call this out and we have to demand change. We have to recognize the damage to our community and our neighbors. iHeartRadio needs to repair the harm it has caused — immediately.