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N.Y. radio hosts suspended over homophobic parent hoax

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NEW YORK — Two Long Island radio personalities have been suspended over an on-air hoax about a homophobic parent.

Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson

Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson

Hoax party invitation

Hoax party invitation

David Widmer, general manager of Connoisseur Media Long Island, the station’s owner, told Newsday that Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson of Farmingdale’s WKJY/93.3 FM were suspended this weekend.

He says the station is dealing with various community groups and gay rights organizations about the incident, but said that Harper and Karlson were supportive of same-sex marriage.

Last week, the two hosts of “The K98.3 Morning Show” described a 7th birthday party invitation by a Baldwin child named “Sophia.” It purportedly was returned to her two fathers by a mother who wrote on it: “Tommy will NOT attend. I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your ‘lifestyle.’ I’m sorry Sophia has to grow up this way.”

WKJY posted the invitation on the station’s Facebook page with the caption, “Do you think she was right to write this?”

The story quickly went viral, being reported and repeatedly referenced on gay-oriented blogs, websites and Facebook pages.

A phone number the “mother” had included on the invite went to a voice mail that a station spokeswoman said had received “well over 2,000 messages before it was taken down.”

Harper and Karlson posted remarks on the station’s website Monday, saying the story was fictitious and apologizing for the stunt.

Editor’s note: LGBTQ Nation did not run the initial story, in keeping with our policy of not publishing anonymous letters posted online.

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Filed under: New York, [ Trending ]

69 more reader comments:

  1. Shame on them. As if we don’t have enough social issues already.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:11pm
  2. totally agree with you

    Replied on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:14pm
  3. Merely suspended?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:12pm
  4. Shame on them for causing unnecessary public uproar. I’m glad they were suspended.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:12pm
  5. Enough already!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:13pm
  6. You don’t have to make this stuff up. It’s alive and well.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:13pm
  7. I am so glad they were suspended but, they should be fired. As a parent who has been an advocate long before my child came out, this is just doesn’t help us at all.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:13pm
  8. Shame on them. The fact is: This could really have happened and here they are making a horrible hoax out of this. They should be ashamed of themselves

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:14pm
  9. Could have caused a lot of trouble ..

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:14pm
  10. Fire them! We don’t need people like to be making more drama for the glbtq community. We have so many issues to worry about rather than to have people blaming us for making them looking bad!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:15pm
  11. How do they think that this will help anyone? Very selfish and I agree…suspended is not enough.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:15pm
  12. Tut tut…Why can’t everyone just leave everyone alone and everyone be happy? We really have to deal with someone stirring the pot? Don’t we have enough church fuckers and republicans for that? Oh wait..same fucking group.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:16pm
  13. Shame on them! They should have been fired for that stunt! I actually thought that this was real and was in anger that a person would write that all because “Sophia” had 2 daddys! >:(

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:16pm
  14. I guess they didn’t learn from the dj’s in Australia who played a hoax on the hospital in London at the birth of the new prince. A nurse committed suicide.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:16pm
  15. OMG I texted the number with a hateful response. My mother was right. Be general on FB and don’t be too specific.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:17pm
  16. Cool

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:17pm
  17. cool? how is this cool?

    Replied on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:22pm
  18. Fire

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:17pm
  19. Suspension ? If it was a citizen who posted this nonsense there would be an uproar of dissension!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:18pm
  20. Stupidity is every where so please think before you speak PEPOLE !!!! ;-p

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:19pm
  21. So they stirred up shit for some media coverage. How selfish. Find a story that is real, there’s PLENTY out there!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:19pm
  22. It’s a terrible thing that we still live amongst ignorant people. This was by all means NOT funny. They deserve to be fired.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:20pm
  23. doesn’t matter if its real or not. There are plenty of real ones to replace the hoaxes.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:21pm
  24. The LGBT community jumping on the band wagon yet again. Just like the gay marine waitress hoax.
    Good job.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:23pm
  25. Shame on them !!!
    Shame on them !!!
    Shame on them !!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:25pm
  26. This is so childish…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:26pm
  27. Wow

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:28pm
  28. I thought this was a “hoax” or “stunt”. Smh

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:28pm
  29. Come on these hoax’s are getting old.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:31pm
  30. Well they knew they were gonna get attention. After all slamming on gays does gather a lot of attention. They make money off of ratings.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:33pm
  31. It’s things like this that make me ignore all the memes and over the top stories I see online. It’s turning the internet into an incendiary place that I want to run away from. I like that this site has a policy of not posting anonymous notes to avoid situations like this one.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:33pm
  32. How about simply, — Will not be able to attend. Thank you for the invitation.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:34pm
  33. What was the point of posting this and having it go viral?? It is just inflammatory in nature and for shock value, bit it set off a shit storm of anger and outrage. They should be fired. This kind of stuff needs to stop!! They are part of the problem!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:36pm
  34. You can’t teach Stupid & closed minds.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:36pm
  35. Screw u k89.3 and Steve Harper I won’t listen to you any more.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:38pm
  36. Don’t trust anything you read on the Internet. ESPECIALLY, what I just wrote!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:38pm
  37. DUMB!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:38pm
  38. I don’t see anything wrong with this. At all. It’s called a stunt. Nobody was harmed AT ALL. It got a dialogue going and put them on the map. What exactly is wrong here?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:39pm
  39. This is not a stunt as you call it, It was a LIE, Telling a lie is never a good thing when it feeds on fear and bigotry.

    Replied on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 6:20pm
  40. You don't think something like this has really happened before?? I applaud them. If I had a morning show and wanted to start a discussion on a topic like this, I would've done the same thing if I'd have had the idea.

    Replied on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 6:30pm
  41. They say they are supportive of same sex marriage and then do things like this. They are either just plan stupid or hiding behind the statement that they supportive on same sex marriage. In fact what they did is no different them someone crying rape who have not been rapped or someone who is saying they have been gay bashed and they haven’t etc. This diminishes the legitimacy of cases that need to be be brought to attention and it gives grounds for others to have questions what could be real issue.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:40pm
  42. for shame.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:40pm
  43. Why do people make up these hoaxes? There is enough bigotry to discuss as it is.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:40pm
  44. Good policy, LGBTQ Nation, of not publishing anonymous online notes.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:42pm
  45. Good, glad they got suspended! There are so many hundreds of thousands of cases of homophobia that they could have posted about, and all of them REAL! THAT would have advanced the conversation! This just makes the homophobes seem like they have a point!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:43pm
  46. Adam M F’n West it exploits a problem for their personal gain. Real people go through this and worse, they need this attention. Not some idiot looking for a minute in the spotlight

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:44pm
  47. Good, we don’t need hoaxes belitling the cause.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:44pm
  48. So what

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:45pm
  49. waste of space.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:46pm
  50. That they are suspended

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:46pm
  51. they should have lost their jobs, would show them how stupid they really are.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:48pm
  52. Listener-baiting. I swear, the Internet has made people so annoying and stupid and greedy for every last “like” and hit and ratings point.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:50pm
  53. That is the truth.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:52pm
  54. Personally, I think it was a hoax or stunt gone wrong, People have got to stop with all this nonsense, if we cant laugh at ourselves then whats the point in living? Learn to laugh about small things or you’ll always be miserable!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 4:57pm
  55. Every story on the radio is hoaxed. I've heard the same story on two different radio stations months apart and states away. If they got suspended then every radio host should be suspended

    Replied on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:21pm
  56. They should be fired

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:14pm
  57. NOT FUNNY AT ALL!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:16pm
  58. Had a feeling because the number was shown.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:17pm
  59. Is Anything Real on line now. And how are we supposed to tell the difference? Glad they got suspended. How do we know now it wasnt for publicity.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:19pm
  60. news flash: every radio story is fake.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:19pm
  61. Bullshit needs to stop. Real life homophobia sucks enough. We don’t need any more fictitious win ratings bs.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:28pm
  62. the fuck it was a joke why is everyone so damn butthurt… oh wait ;P

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:30pm
  63. Not fired?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:33pm
  64. I hate this! It’s crap like this that keeps REAL hate from being taken seriously. Recently a couple I know were kicked out of a cab on the freeway i the middle of the night for being gay. This crap makes their plight harder to believe.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:48pm
  65. Good for them! They should just fired them period

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:53pm
  66. I think joke or not it brought awareness to how some people treat homosexual couples with children. I am a homosexual mother and I am not offended. I wasn’t always supportive of this life. I used to teach my sons that they boys shouldn’t marry other boys. Then I found the love of my life, Sara, and now I see that it doesn’t matter what gender your significant other is as long as they love you. We are much happier now. We are also lucky enough to have friends and family that love us enough not to belittle our love. Let those DJs go back to work.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 5:58pm
  67. They should of been fired instead of suspended

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 6:01pm
  68. Joke or not. They should have thought twice before pulling such a stunt as this. We are told to always think before we speak for what we say can effect those around us and the same applies to the actions of which they participated in. What comes around goes around.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 6:19pm
  69. It was a stunt injected into LIE, all of which has fed into fear and bigotry. All I am saying is if others would think before they speak do then such fear and bigotry could cease to exist. Maybe I’m dreaming? Yet it would be a much better world if people weren’t so ignorant. As I always say LOVE LIFE AND EACH OTHER.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 6:30pm