Hot97 released a statement today revealing that DJ Cipha Sounds would be suspended indefinitely for disparaging comments he made about Haitian women on the air.
During a segment about giving out condoms to help reduce the spread of AIDS in Haiti Cipha “joked” that he didn’t have to worry about HIV because he didn’t “mess with Haitian women.” The remark incurred numerous angry calls to the station and angry emails online. The DJ apologized but community leaders were not satisfied and a press conference was held outside of the station.
The following statement was released by the station in response to the incident:
“Emmis Communications’ HOT 97 today announced a three-part plan to address a recent comment made on-air by DJ Cipha Sounds.
First, the station announced that DJ Cipha Sounds has been suspended indefinitely.
Second, Cipha will immediately undertake sensitivity training focused on the Haitian community and specifically, the challenges the Haitian community has faced in terms of the HIV epidemic.
Finally, HOT 97 announced it will work with local community leaders to utilize the influence of HOT 97 to increase awareness of HIV and community programs to address the HIV epidemic.
“Cipha made an immediate public apology and recognizes his insensitivity and the negative impact his comments have on all Haitians,” said Alex Cameron, SVP/Market Manager of Emmis-New York. “The Haitian community is an important part of our listenership whom we respect and value. The suspension is an indication of the importance we place on delivering a product that respects our Haitian audience. It’s a very regrettable and unfortunate circumstance for all involved and particularly because we know this is not the nature of this young man who has been an advocate of the Haitian community and a big part of our fundraising efforts for Haiti. He is committed to working with the Haitian community to make a difference and turn this negative incident into an opportunity for increased learning and awareness.”