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New York radio station fires hosts over transphobic broadcast

Thursday, May 22, 2014
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Two upstate New York radio hosts have been fired over their on-air, transphobic comments about the city of Rochester’s decision to cover gender reassignment surgery for city employees.

WBZA radio hosts Barry Beck and Kimberly Ray

Former WBZA radio hosts Barry Beck and Kimberly Ray

Late Wednesday evening, WBZA radio posted on its social media pages that Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck had been “suspended indefinitely,” but on Thursday, the station’s owner Entercom Rochester announced the firings of Ray and Beck, saying their “hateful comments” do not represent the station.

Ray referred to someone seeking gender reassignment surgery as “a nut job.” Beck equated the issue to having the city pay for breast enhancement or liposuction for a mentally ill woman.

The pair’s discussion on their “Breakfast Buzz” show Wednesday had, by Thursday, generated 4,000 signatures on a removal petition.

Listen to the broadcast segment here.

Following the brodcast on Tuesday, Ray tweeted: “Freedom of Speech includes the freedom to offend others,” with the hashtag #getoverit.

The pair had been with the Rochester station since 2001. Neither could be reached for comment Thursday.

The radio hosts’ comments were directed at an announcement by Rochester officials that the city will extend transition-related health coverage to transgender and gender non-conforming municipal employees.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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