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News :: Media
Dehumanization Has No Place On Boston Radio
17 Dec 2006
This coming weekend, WBCN Boston is planning to broadcast an event that degrades and humiliates homeless individuals for the perverse amusement of the listening audience. The AIDS Housing Corporation is calling on concerned persons to contact WBCN to urge them not to broadcast this disgusting spectacle.
On Saturday, December 16, radio disc jockeys Opie (Gregg Hughes) and Anthony (Anthony Cumia) will broadcast their annual “Homeless Shopping Spree” at the Short Hills Mall in Short Hills, New Jersey. The “Opie and Anthony Radio Show” is a nationally syndicated show, broadcast locally on WBCN Boston (104.1 FM) and nationally via satellite on XM Satellite Radio.

The so-called Homeless Shopping Spree, which has been held on a number of previous occasions, takes several homeless individuals from New York City and transports them via bus to a shopping mall in a local affluent community. During the trip, Hughes, Cumia and their cohorts provide alcohol to the homeless persons, give them degrading nicknames such as “Tippy Tom,” “Sperm,” and “Buttered Roll,” and generally ridicule them on the air.

Hughes and Cumia’s listeners are encouraged by the radio hosts to give the homeless men money in order to get them to shop at the high-end retail stores in the mall. The men are recorded both with audio and video equipment in the mall and are given a constant supply of liquor.

According to the December 14 broadcast of the Opie and Anthony Radio Show, well over 2,000 persons are expected at the Short Hills Mall to witness the degradation of these men.

A very disturbing online account of a past Homeless Shopping Spree is at http://tinyurl. com/ydjt9h.

There are many disturbing parallels to be made between the Homeless Shopping Spree and the so-called “Bum Fights” video series. In both cases, homeless individuals are portrayed as existing only for the amusement of others and are subjected to extreme humiliation.

Currently, WBCN Boston is planning to broadcast the Homeless Shopping Spree live on Saturday December 16 at 2:30 pm in addition to a scheduled re-broadcast on Monday, December 18 from 6-9 am. This kind of dehumanization should not be happening on our air waves.
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