WEEI has canceled its live programming Friday in order for its full staff to participate in sensitivity training, a response to the advertiser backlash to a host mocking Tom Brady’s agent with a stereotypical accent last week.
Statement from WEEI: pic.twitter.com/cLykP0gtFB
— WEEI (@WEEI) February 14, 2018
“Nothing is more important to WEEI than the close-knit and diverse Boston community we call home, and we are committed to actively contributing to its betterment,” a statement issued by the station and parent company Entercom Communications read.
“WEEI is in the process of closely reevaluating our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure that our programming is never intolerant or harmful to our listeners and our city.”
Christian Fauria, a midday host on WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni and Fauria program, was suspended for five days after mocking Yee with a racially insensitive Asian accent while the hosts were discussing reporter Ron Borges’s erroneous story in Friday’s Boston Herald.
Borges was duped by a sports radio listener pretending via text to be Yee, telling him that Brady would skip the Patriots’ offseason organized team activities unless he was paid like Garoppolo, his former backup. Garoppolo signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract with the 49ers last week.
Fauria, during a “dramatic reading” of the Borges/Yee texts on Friday’s program, said, “I’m gonna be Don Yee. For me, I don’t know why, Don Yee sounds like an Asian guy.” He then commenced reading the lines with an over-the-top Asian accent. His co-hosts laughed.
Eventually, the show played audio of the real Don Yee talking. He is of Chinese descent, but he was born in Sacramento, Calif., and does not speak with any distinct accent.
In the fallout over the past week, WEEI has had at least five advertisers, including Comcast Corp., Citizens Bank, and the Massachusetts State Lottery, suspend or terminate commercial purchases with the station.