ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Former WBZA radio hosts Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck, who were fired from their Rochester, N.Y., morning radio show following a segment in which they mocked and ridiculed the transgender community, have issued a statement of apology.
The duo, who had been with the Rochester station since 2001, were fired after referring to transgender individuals at “nut jobs” in a segment on Tuesday criticizing the city of Rochester’s decision to cover gender reassignment surgery for city employees.
The hosts also suggested the city should pay for “boob jobs.”
Their statement, via WHEC-TV:
“We are very sorry for the hurt and pain we have caused anyone, especially those in the transgender community and their friends and families. What we said and the manner in which we handled ourselves was wrong, we take full responsibility and we deeply apologize to any and all that we offended.
“Our attempt was to discuss a controversial healthcare issue; however our lack of sensitivity and understanding of the transgender people and their plight created 12 minutes of radio we that wish we could take back.
“We fully understand Entercom’s position and their decision to dismiss us. It is their right and we accept their decision and our responsibility in it. Entercom has been and will continue to be a strong advocate for the LGBT community and we are proud to have been helpful in Entercom’s efforts over our 13 years with the company.
“It is our hope that this situation can be a time of learning and understanding about the transgender community and not a time for additional anger and insensitivity. This is a community of individuals that struggle painfully to be themselves and find the support and comfort they deserve. We believe that this can be a chance for all of us to stop the ignorance and find our humanity.”
The pair’s discussion on their “Breakfast Buzz” show Wednesday had, by Thursday, generated 4,000 signatures on a removal petition.
Following the broadcast on Tuesday, Ray tweeted: “Freedom of Speech includes the freedom to offend others,” with the hashtag #getoverit.