Boston radio station WEEI will have all of its employees undergo mandatory sensitivity training on Friday, the network announced Wednesday, during which time all live programming will be suspended.
“Nothing is more important to WEEI than the close-knit and diverse Boston community we call home, and we are committed to actively contributing to its betterment,” WEEI said in a statement. “WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that our programming is never intolerant or harmful to our listeners or our city.”
The decision comes after two recent incidents that led to the suspensions of two hosts.
Just before the Super Bowl, WEEI host Alex Reimer referred to Tom Brady’s daughter as “an annoying little pissant” and was suspended indefinitely. Brady expressed displeasure with the remark during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan Show” but said at Super Bowl media day that he didn’t want Reimer fired.
On Friday, Christian Fauria, a former Patriots tight end-turned-WEEI host, used a grossly stereotypical Asian accent when impersonating Brady’s agent, Don Yee, during a segment about a Boston Herald columnist falling for a tip from someone posing as Yee. Fauria was suspended five days.
These are not isolated incidents, either.
In May, WEEI’s Kirk Minihane and his co-host, Gerry Callahan, questioned the veracity of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones’s accusations that he was berated with racial slurs during a game at Fenway.
Minihane was also suspended in 2014 after calling Erin Andrews a “gutless b----” for not pressing Adam Wainwright hard enough about grooving a fastball to Derek Jeter in the All-Star Game. “I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she’d be a waitress at Perkins,” Minihane said a week later in what was nominally an apology. The network initially said Minihane would not be suspended but eventually caved after Fox pulled all its ads from the 100-plus stations owned by WEEI’s parent company, Entercom.
Several advertisers also pulled out of WEEI programming in the wake of Fauria’s comments, according to the Boston Globe.