Protesting Austin Rhodes

By: Stephanie Baker Email
By: Stephanie Baker Email


Local radio host Austin Rhodes is under fire for the same reason Don Imus lost his job on CBS Radio this week. Both used the term "nappy headed ho" over the air. On Saturday, protestors gathered outside WGAC radio to tell Rhodes that disrespects women and their community.

They're lining the streets, and their message is clear.

"He should be removed, just like Imus," said protestor Michelle Vann.

She says Rhodes's comments crossed the line. But Rhodes tells News 12 a different side of the story.

"A sex worker with multiple samples of male semen in her body, I am calling her what she is, a ho. As far as nappy hair goes, that's a description of myself, if I am going to say that about myself, I’m not going to be shy about saying it about somebody else either."

Rhodes is talking about the woman who accused Duke Lacrosse players of rape. That's a reaction to the controversy surrounding former radio host Don Imus, who made similar comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

"Austin must go. We can't tolerate this anymore, we can't have this kind of divisiveness over someone who feels they can say anything they want to say,” said Minister Vincon Baker,

He says the comments Rhodes made on his show, and rival station Rejoice Radio, are disrespectful: the term "nappy head" to the black community, and the term "ho" to women everywhere. Alan Green agrees.

"It’s just a derogatory word that should not be used."

Frederick Gibbons says he just needs to clean up the airwaves.

"Words are a powerful tool. And I believe you should use it in a positive way, than a negative way."

"It’s an issue about humanity; it's an issue about women. It's an issue in this community that needs to be addressed.” Michelle Vann says addressing the issue means taking away the microphone.

Austin disagrees, "Anything can be taken out of context. In this case, my words were taken out of context."

That's what Austin Rhodes told news 12 Friday. We called him Saturday to get his reaction to the protest. He said he doesn't have any further comment at this time.

Two separate plans in place for Monday to address comments made by Rhodes. A group of ministers will meet in the commission chambers at 10:30 to discuss the situation with mayor Copenhaver and the commission. Protestors plan to gather in front of radio station WGAC again, to call for Rhodes’s resignation.


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