Jersey Guy’s lose advertisers

DNSI links to an article that says that the Jersey Guys’ advertisers are starting to pull out:

The Star-Ledger (NJ) is reporting that Cingular Wireless and Hyundai Motor America have pulled advertising from WKXW-FM. The station has been embroiled in controversy almost immediately after hosts of the station’s “The Jersey Guys” program, Craig Carton and Ray Rossi, offered racist and offensive commentary aimed at Asians and Indians.

Blogger Lester Gesteland is also keeping up with the minute by minute.

26 thoughts on “Jersey Guy’s lose advertisers

  1. Hmmm…. I think this is the wrong way of combating bigotry. By pulling away advertisers, the Jersey Guys are essentially being run out of town. Simply telling someone to shut up when they say something outrageous isn’t going to get us anywhere, and it certainly isn’t going to change the minds of the thousands of people who agree with these outrageous things. In fact, it will just give these people more reason to stick with their bigoted ideology.

    Underneath all of that racist bullshit, the Jersey Guys had a valid point: it’s unfair of politicians to pander to specific ethnic groups while putting less priority on the general population. This is an important issue since a lot of white Americans in cities like New Jersey feel alienated by the government. By punishing the Jersey Guys for expressing their opinions, we’re alienating these angry white folk even more, which really doesn’t accomplish anything.

    Rather than taking action against the Jersey Guys themselves, wouldn’t it be a better idea to go after the bigotry? We can do this by expressing ourselves: send in an intelligent rebuttal to a local newspaper, call up a talk radio station, or simply have a conversation with one of these “angry white folks”. The South Asian community isn’t exactly lacking when it comes to intelligent, articulate people who can make a difference. SM itself is flooded with them.

  2. oh how i try to make this argument, bangla warrior. perhaps you’ll be more successful than i was, given that you’ve already been more articulate in one try than I’ve been in in about 10.

    but i wrote to asian media watch–no response; i spoke to some folks i know in the effort–limited response; here, a lot of people don’t like to put the nuance into this that you’re doing.

    you put it really well, so i hope somebody listens to you. in case not, i know saalt is working on this.

  3. ‘Discussions’ are all well and good, but it just generates more publicity for the radio-show – and as we all know, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

    If it were my company and one of the shows I was sponsoring made racist comments, I wouldn’t think twice about pulling sponsorship. Who wants to have anything to do with shows like that? Maybe some other company who who wants to tackle the ‘angry white folk’ nuances can pick up the sponsorship – not me.

  4. Saurav, I also was a bit disappointed in the response I received from Asian Media Watch; basically it read “we’re into this, thanks…”

    ok. shrug. I was upset, I wanted to help… guess I’ll have to go Brown Vigilante

    I agree with Bak, though. Money is the discussion that everybody listens to.

  5. ‘Discussions’ are all well and good, but it just generates more publicity for the radio-show – and as we all know, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
    Money is the discussion that everybody listens to.

    These views are really frustating to me. Kicking these guys off the air or financially punishing the radio station is, imo, not going to reduce racism; it’s just going to lead to, to paraphrase Bangla Warrior, more people feeling silenced and alienated. It’s also more like a tantrum (an activity I’m very familiar with) than a tactic (like a public forum) that’s going to engage disempowered White and Brown and Chinese and Korean people to talk to each other and figure out that they’re all getting screwed in the same ways and probably by the same people.

    I’m not going to say don’t do anything, if you’re pissed, you’re pissed, and you have every right to be. Just be more intelligent in your response than Asian Media Watch is being with their call for these guys’ heads. Remember that a desi dude working at the counter of a grocery store in Edison has a lot more to lose than you if you make the White people in his town feel even more alienated and voiceless (assuming the only impact on you from this was that you had to hear or read the transcripts of a couple of idiots). And he probably hears a lot worse $hit on a regular basis than what these two idiots said on the radio.

    BTW, I should note that the radio station was no more responsive to me than Asian Media Watch even though I sent them a very civil note borderline sycophantic note, since i knocked AMW in my last comment.

    [end sermon]

  6. Kicking these guys off the air or financially punishing the radio station is, imo, not going to reduce racism; it’s just going to lead to, to paraphrase Bangla Warrior, more people feeling silenced and alienated.

    The next time you meet a mugger in a dark alley, sit down and reason with ‘em. Me, I’d be happy to be packin’ Rushdie-style.

  7. The next time you meet a mugger in a dark alley, sit down and reason with ‘em.

    Great analogy, Manish.

  8. Rather than taking action against the Jersey Guys themselves, wouldn’t it be a better idea to go after the bigotry? We can do this by expressing ourselves

    You are right….and the hundreds of offended people who have faced real-life racism in Edison and elsewhere HAVE expressed themselves.

    Most of these people, unlike you, do NOT feel the commentators had any valid points. They are utilizing their rights to go after heads or call it what you will. Wake up and smell the coffee, writing intelligent op-eds against racism (an utterly useless tactic that failed to diminish racist behavior on the ground) won’t do squat. Probably won’t even get published (hmm letter that says racism is bad…next). You think “the Jersey Guys” and their ilk read op-eds? You must be kidding.

    call up a talk radio station, or simply have a conversation with one of these “angry white folks”.

    Ann Coulter effect. Anybody who calls the show and says “Oh you guys are SO meany bo-beenie…stop saying such things” will get laughed off the air. Its been tried and it has failed. Miserably.

    None of these tactics have done a damn thing to prevent sardarji gas station wallahs from being threatened, KKK crosses being placed on lawns (no not exaggerating, it happened) etc. You say “go after the bigotry”…well that is exactly what has been done…and I’m damn proud of the effects. If we learned one thing from the Hot 97 incident, its that the oppressed, the lambasted, and the ridiculed can fight back against being the convenient butt of other people’s vitriol. And there is no disputing its effect….I guarantee you nobody in the NYC area will again make any type of anti-Asian song like the Tsunami song ever again.

    And at the end of the day, if you don’t approve of this movement, don’t join it. But don’t call up organizations that do support it and tell them to stop. If you would rather send the Jersey Guys flowers with polite messages asking them to reconsider, please do so by any and all means. Nobody from the protesters ranks is going to ask you not to.

  9. Me, I’d be happy to be packin’ Rushdie-style.

    It is with great ease that I see both sides of how to address this sad phenomenon. My problem stops being black-and-white when I don’t know whether retaliation (such as kicking them off the air or financial punishment) is self-defense or simply an eye for an eye.

  10. … I don’t know whether retaliation (such as kicking them off the air or financial punishment) is self-defense…

    Racist broadcasts breed racist actions. You knock these guys off the air, you spare yourself another Vincent Chin or Dotbusters. There’s been a huge attitudinal shift in racism after the Civil Rights movement, and it’s because of all the hard work of people in getting the racists off the air and out of the textbooks and schools. The handwringing over this is just so much noblesse oblige.

    You want to go in and do a personal intervention, a conversion, fine. Do it after they’re off the air. And bring backup.

  11. damn you manish for effectively conveying the same viewpoint as me but with about one tenth the words and effort!

    “noblesse oblige”…haha….le mot juste!

  12. I agree with Manish, except I see it as a need for public education. In places where there are dense South Asian/Asian populations, there is a need to make cultural ties with the community. No, not putting up American flags, but sharing stories, food, and laughter. I know I may sound like a Polyanna, but the reality is that African Americans were making strides in the civil rights movement by public outreach and education.

    I believe that beyond finances, in helping the day to day folks, South Asian/Asian religious/community groups need to sit down their politicians (city council) and have open discussions. Like Saurav and BangaWarrior are saying, how can ANYTHING be resolved if not for education?

  13. [T]he hundreds of offended people who have faced real-life racism in Edison and elsewhere HAVE expressed themselves. Most of these people, unlike you, do NOT feel the commentators had any valid points. They are utilizing their rights to go after heads or call it what you will.

    Who are these people “utilizing their rights” that you’re talking about? There was some massive swell of local East Asian and South Asian resistance after this radio broadcast that I didn’t hear about? Here’s some news about the aftermath. All I see are groups without any grassroots connections (and in some case connections to New Jersey at all) and politicians posturing. If you want to work against racism in New Jersey (as opposed to just getting rid of the people who said racist things), you should do it in a way that engages the people you’re ostensibly trying to help.

    To be fair, I know SAALT has a connection with some segments of the community in Jersey and is working on this campaign too–where I disagree with them is on tactics. What I would do FIRST would be to force the radio station to join a joint call for a community meeting to engage people to talk about race relations in Jersey–that would hold the radio station accountable, force these djs to actually meet and hear from south asian and east asian folks and their issues, generate more attention for this, etc.; if they’re unresponsive to that THEN make more confrontational calls for their heads, bias policies, etc.

    But you don’t call for people who were raising political points in an admittedly really f@#ked up way to get fired (which is probably a little like banning a book in terms of increasing their appeal, the intensity of support for them, and the extent to which they and their listeners feel silenced) or pursue other strategies that effectively cut off any chance of intercommunity dialogue without an overarching strategy that would actually address the broader issues in a way that lasts.

  14. What I would do FIRST would be to force the radio station to join a joint call for a community meeting….If you want to work against racism in New Jersey (as opposed to just getting rid of the people who said racist things), you should do it in a way that engages the people you’re ostensibly trying to help.

    Why the conditionals…Did you try doing this? If not, you lose your right to lecture from above.

    In any case, this wasn’t Lawrence Summers, these are da Jersey guys. I’d love for you to call them up or station management (Eric Johnson et al) and ask them to do something of this sort. To be more specific, I’d love to hear their response when such proposal was suggested. As I said, Ann Coulter effect.

    You link to three articles in well-known media sites in central Jersey and ask if there was a response? Believe me, those 3 links you found were not the extent of the press coverage. (For instance, it was/is covered in the Star Ledger, NJ’s biggest paper and in other local papers). 2 ad sponsors have already pulled their ads, I suspect more will follow soon. Yes there was a response, and since you weren’t on the receiving end of the protest emails it’s presumptuous to assume there wasn’t.

    All I see are groups without any grassroots connections (and in some case connections to New Jersey at all) and politicians posturing.

    I don’t understand this statement. What exactly is a “grassroots connection” and who are you to judge who has and hasn’t such a connection? And why is it important? So what if its just a bunch of people from disparate backgrounds, economics levels, and other “connections” who are uniformly pissed and offended? Do they need to be part of some organization, labor union or grassroots economic justice program to be socially active?

    Lastly, please advise me if, inter alia, the Green American Association of New Jersey, the Korean American Association of Greater New York, State Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson, Edison Mayor George Spadoro (who is running against Jun Choi), and Bergen County Assemblyman Robert Gordon qualify as grassroots orgs/people with “local connections” under your test.

  15. First, i f@#ked up in my last comment. The group that I have a hunch is being unaccountable and without a strong connection to the geographic community that they’re working in is Asian Media Watchdog, which I stupidly deleted reference to. I mentioned SAALT primarily because I know that they’re working on this campaign and I wanted to recognize that at least one of the groups working on this campaign that I know about has actually met with people in Edison in the past.

    What exactly is a “grassroots connection” and who are you to judge who has and hasn’t such a connection? And why is it important?

    What I wrote in response to this was so long that I’m putting it here.

    The short answer is that I’m very picky when I see activist campaigns. I’d like to know that they’re being run well, that they’re being thought through, that they’re not going to endanger other people’s lives, that they try to reach out to all the different kinds of people that are affected by the issue they try to deal with, and that they’re not part of a narrow agenda but done with an understanding of the broader framework in which these issues arise.

    I don’t trust that Asian Media Watchdog is reliably leading me or others in the right direction on those counts based on what I’ve seen (if they don’t even bother writing back to me or giving Desidancer a response that’s not dismissive, how much effort are they putting in to finding out about or putting stock in the opinion of a random person of color in edison, let alone the White working class people there?).

    i’m just a guy on a blog in this situation and these are just my opinions, presumptuous though they may be. I’m asking these groups to go about their work in a different way from what I see Asian Media Watchdog doing. Maybe I’m wrong–just not my style, though.

  16. Manish, I may be a little late with this comment, but I think your whole “mugger in the alley” analogy doesn’t work. Do you really think that the Jersey Guys caused a threat as immediate to the East and South Asian communities with that broadcast as a mugger would to some poor chap in an alley? Being from Northern California, I really don’t know how it’s like for Desis in the Jersey region, but will this radio broadcast cause some sort of violent, LA-riot-styled attack on the South Asian community? What I’m asking really, is how can you give credibility to the statement “racist broadcasts breed racist actions”? That’s such a general, vague, thing to say…

    If the Jersey Guys were trying to incite violence, then by all means, take them to jail. I, however, don’t think that this was the case. As for what action South Asians are supposed to be taking, I was not necessarily suggesting an organized attack on bigotry by grass-roots groups (although it wouldn’t hurt). Maybe what we can do is as subtle as an attitude change… I really like what rversde23 had to say about making “cultural ties with the community” by means of “sharing stories, food, and laughter”.

    If we want to end this anti-Desi sentiment, then we definitely need to take action. However, this is going to take time… years, maybe even decades. Feelings of animosity don’t disappear overnight.

  17. … how can you give credibility to the statement “racist broadcasts breed racist actions”?

    New Jersey history:

    In October, Jud Colicchio, former mayor of Wanaque, New Jersey, created a public furor when he said he didn’t want more housing in the district because it would attract “all these dot heads” to the area. In November 1987, in nearby Jersey City, Navroz Mody was murdered. Witnesses said the accused suspects shouted “Hindu, Hindu” while beating Mody to death. A hoodlum gang – “the Dotbusters” – claims credit for attacks on Indians who wear the traditional Hindu pottu… An angry Hispanic in Jersey City told an India West reporter, “These Indian people, they come in. They take over. They’ve got a house and business because they’re screwing us around. Everyone knows you can’t trust them. They’re cheap and will [manipulate] you around for a dollar.” Another said, “Indians don’t tend to hire these kids to work at their stores. They hire other Indians or do it themselves. That makes the kids angry because they feel they’re somehow losing out.”

    And:

    [I]n September 1987, a group calling itself the ‘dotbusters’ wrote a letter to a Jersey City newspaper. The letter read: “We will go to any extreme to get Indians to move out of Jersey City. If I’m walking down the street and I see a Hindu and the setting is right, I will hit him or her.” A couple of weeks after that, an Indian doctor, Kaushal Sharan, was beaten up by three white men. And three days later, in the neighbouring town of Hoboken, an Asian Indian, Navroze Mody, was beaten to death by a gang of 11 men.

    Ironically, Hoboken/Jersey City today have huge numbers of desis who work in Manhattan. In Edison/Iselin, there have been tensions over celebrating Navratri.

  18. Saurav

    First apologizes because the tone of my post was unduly harsh. Second, I’ve never ever been to the Asian Media Watchdog’s site, the response I was talking about was even broader and disorganized than their approach seems to be in your view (I have no idea either way). It is the response of bloggers, friendsters, mass-email recipients, etc. who individually have responded to the issue. I think there is real value in that response, as visceral as it may seem, because instinct and conscience are the backbone of any real positive social change.

    That said, I completely agree with you that as a collective we should capitalize on this response for future issues for as you say

    But even if it doesn’t foster that broader set of connections, the work that’s done leaves something behind in the form of social networks and greater knowledge/empowerment among the people who were part of it, and, for some, the remediation of what prompted them to get together in the first place, etc.

    So I take back my question, grassroots orgs are definitely useful, I was just saying disorganized movements are also a good thing (although not terribly efficient) and should be given credit as such.

  19. I agree with Manish, except I see it as a need for public education. In places where there are dense South Asian/Asian populations, there is a need to make cultural ties with the community. No, not putting up American flags, but sharing stories, food, and laughter.

    Desis in these areas do make cultural ties. They go to the same stores, malls, parks, courts, etc. as everyone else is the community. They are your doctors, your lawyers, your real estate agents, your gas station attendants, your life insurance representatives, your bank tellers, etc. Such cultural ties are attempted, and made, every single day. Food, folks and fun, the whole 9.

    This is especially so in the public school system, where typically friends’ circles are more diverse than a Benneton ad.

    Its not about desis becoming more “American” or assimilated…its about America recognizing desi-America as legitimately American.

    I know I may sound like a Polyanna, but the reality is that African Americans were making *strides* in the civil rights movement by public outreach and education.

    The abolitionist movement had been preaching its good word in vain for over 150 years by the time Brown v. Board came out. What really made the changes were the protests all across the South and legal action. That is what makes changes in this country. Otherwise, we will be sitting around for decades wondering when the racism will stop.

    If the Jersey Guys were trying to incite violence, then by all means, take them to jail.

    Chances are it wouldnt meet the test for inciting violence but such comments DO influence (and reiforce negative) attitudes. And as such they are harmful and dangerous to desis….not in an blatantly illegal way, but certainly in a way that must be redressed by the community.

  20. vurdlife,

    no need to apologize–i asked for it, and a lot of the questions you raised were really legitimate :) i agree in particular with this: “instinct and conscience are the backbone of any real positive social change”

    also, just want to clarify, i hate the notion of organization (in fact, that’s a big part of the reason i work as a consultant despite the economic costs) in my overgrown adolescence, and vastly prefer a romanticized view of people working on their own, paid or unpaid, to do social justice work (that’s what i do). i think there’s a space for organizations and for groups of individuals, etc.–just as long as the whole decentralized structure is embedded with a culture of accountability to the people at the bottom.

  21. The abolitionist movement had been preaching its good word in vain for over 150 years by the time Brown v. Board came out. What really made the changes were the protests all across the South and legal action. That is what makes changes in this country. Otherwise, we will be sitting around for decades wondering when the racism will stop.

    I didn’t have a chance to respond before to Manish’s Civil Rights movement analogy:

    The reduction in racism was not built exclusively on high-profile top-down steps like impact litigation or changing textbooks or media accountability or legislation, although those are all pieces of it. Those things happen at the end, when you already have some power. What generates the capacity for those things is people like Rosa Parks coming together to form community and a culture of treating each other well and understanding who to resist and how. And also, you need people like Malcolm X and Cesar Chavez and other folks (like MLK for that matter) who confronted and scared the $hit out of the elites, demanding accountability, and took things beyond the level of black people’s rights to human rights and the rights of vietnamese people not to get killed and poverty.

    All that work and community building and empowerment leads to a culture of decent politics that reframes the way that people talk about political issues. It’s not a coincidence that advances in Black people’s rights, lgbt people’s rights, women’s rights, poor people’s rights, immigants’ rights (including my parents’ ability to enter the US) all happened at once.

    For a view of what happens when you ignore context and do single-issue work, or don’t care about questions of strategy and people’s opinions outside of those who already agree with you, just look at the lgbt gay marriage “movement” today–it’s so single-issue focused, totally ignores the ways that other people are being f@#cked–including people within the lgbt community–and generally uses tactics like lawsuits that are so lacking in populism that it, quite naturally, generates enormous backlash (and undermines previously won victories that could have been sustained, like civil unions). It’s a really, really foolish and fundamentally anti-democratic way to try to promote people’s well-being and rights if that’s what it’s actually about; some of us think it’s really about primarily promoting the interests of a certain segment of the lgbt population at the expense of everyone else.

  22. Well then, thanks for the information Manish… I honestly didn’t know the extent of anti-South Asian violence in the New Jersey area. Even though the Dotbusters were active in the 1980s (as far as I can tell from your information), I see why you’re concerned… history does tend to repeat itself if nothing is done about it.

    All I was originally trying to say was making ourselves the victims every time something like this happens isn’t the best way to do things. It’s more complicated than that since both sides feel victimized. In an ideal world, instead of punishing the Jersey Guys, both sides would sit down and talk things through.

    I do realize, however, that we don’t live in an ideal world. Given New Jersey’s past, it’s important to be extra cautious about what is said in public: it’s an issue of freedom versus security to some extent. Although I still think South Asians need to combat this bigotry at an individual level, the people of Jersey should do whatever it takes to prevent violence.

  23. I’m James, Co-Founder and Campaign Director of Asian Media Watchdog. I was googling and I came across this site.

    It seems like you have a problem with many APIA groups who got involved in this issue (including us) in terms of approach in this Jersey Guys issue. I read over your comments and honestly I have no idea what you’re trying to tell me but here’s my take.

    I don’t believe I necessarily need to know local people in terms of approaching this issue. We have had many successful campaign in the past (refer to our site: Details, Enzyte, Hot 97, etc. etc..) that were not really just NY local issues. This Jersey Guys issues just go beyond NJ local issue.

    We were simply coming from the point of view of “What if they say something like this referring to African American? They would have been long gone.” Unfortunately, saying deragatory things about APIAs on air is still considered fair game. We are trying to change that.

    As for the response, I don’t know if that was myself or my staff… You need to understand that we receive hundreds of e-mails every day. As one of fairly well known APIA non-profit groups, we just don’t have time to respond to every single e-mails. So the response may sound short from time to time. Please don’t take it personally. We are simply busy. I try to find time to respond to message boards whenever time allows but that’s pretty much the best I can do. We even post our phone number on our site (“Contact Us” section) and all you need to do is call, which is probably the best way to reach especially in the middle of major campaign like this.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I may not respond right away but be assured that I do read every single e-mails.

    Sincerely

    – James Fujikawa Co-Founder/Campaign Director Asian Media Watchdog 676 A Ninth Avenue New York, NY 10036 Phone: 212-560-5683 Fax: 212-957-9191 Visit our website at http://www.asianmediawatchdog.com

  24. I don’t believe I necessarily need to know local people in terms of approaching this issue.

    James, I believe you do. The issue does go beyond NJ, but your actions directly affect people in NJ long after your part of this work is done. How would you feel if a bunch of non-Asian people decided to start speaking for Asian people in this situation without asking you or any other Asian people what they thought, and then stated that they didn’t think they needed to consult with any Asian people about this? imo, it’s important to, at minimum, consult with people who will later be dealing with the brunt of any possible backlash, including the other parts of this issue (like housing discrimination, discrimination at the polls, possible hate crimes, etc.).

  25. My God people, relax and let’s all try to get along. You make it sound like two guys on the radio are about to destroy the whole asian population. We will never be able to erase racisms, we are better off trying to preach tolerance. What Choi did on the jersey guys was excellent, let’s hope that this will be the way to enlightenment of all people. In everyday society we pit people against each other, sports, rival schools, communities, etc.

    How can we expect people to get along when in society we say that it’s ok to hate the Jets and like the Giants.

    Something to think about?

  26. That information is totally wrong. Cingular wireless is a direct sponsor of The Jersey Guys. Both companies have commercials running 3 or 4 times an hour. Nice try. There is now way the Jersey Guys will be run out of town by some website. Cingular and hyundai were too smart to pull their ads because the Jersey Guys have so many listeners. LATE!!!!