Kellie Baker, a 30-year-old woman with Down's syndrome, was trying to call her friend, Kelly Ann Burkhart, but dialed "The Mo Show," a program on a Canton, Ohio radio station, Q92, by mistake. The phone call took an odd and unsettling turn when "DJ Mo" started making fun of the way Kellie spoke.
"Eh, Uh ... I don’t want to come across -- obviously you have some sort of a speech impediment," Mo told Kellie. To which she replied, "Uh … no, this my voice." Realizing what was going on, Kellie tried to get off the phone, but Mo stopped her. And then things got much, much worse.
Here's a snippet of their conversation:
DJ Mo: Hey, I can’t -- I, I, I -- listen -- I can’t understand you. Again I can’t be the first person to have told you that it’s tough to understand you.
Kellie: All right, never mind.
DJ Mo: All right?
Kellie: I’ll see ya later ok, bye.
DJ Mo: K -- say it real slowly.
Kellie: Never mind, never mind.
DJ Mo: No, say it real slowly. I want to try to figure this out. It’s a little game.
According to Kellie's sister, Kara Ball, after she hung up, she frantically called her mother crying. "She told my mom, 'I’m a 30-year-old woman, I have feelings too, and I hurt, too," Ball said. "Why would he make fun of me?'"
After the incident, DJ Mo was suspended -- still is. At first, Kellie's family was completely outraged and wanted him fired, but after several family conversations, they decided that they just want a face-to-face apology from him; and they want to use this opportunity to spread awareness on how to treat people with disabilities. DJ Mo has issued an apology to Kellie and says that he thought the phone call was a prank.
Be that as it may, radio stations typically pre-screen calls before putting them straight to air. You don't just dial up a radio station and quickly get connected to the DJ of your choice. I'm not quite sure how this phone call made it to air -- or why it went on so long. And this doesn't even sound like a prank phone call; it sounds like Baker dialed the wrong number and was looking for a girl named Kelly.
I hope that Kellie and her family get what they're looking for out of this terrible situation. If it were me, I'm not sure I'd be so forgiving. Everyone always seems really sorry when their jobs are in jeopardy.
What do you think of this?
by sjump25February 1, 2013 at 4:19 PM
What a jerk!
He should have been suspsended, should issue and ON AIR aplogy and be ashamed of himself. Usually I don't say people need to feel shame, but he should feel shame. That is horrible and she didn't know how to handle it and was trying to get off the phone, while being polite as she has learned to do. He is a low life to make fun of someone the way he did. That is being a bully and it is ugly. If I was his boss, I would all out FIRE him.
by KmakksmomFebruary 3, 2013 at 4:00 PM
That's really sad. He should apologize on air to her. :(
by lhiannanFebruary 3, 2013 at 4:09 PM
I've called radio stations and made it directly to the air before-not that that is an excuse. It was pretty shi**y behavior...
how horrible. and inexcusable. and disheartening.
i hope this case not only raises awareness for those with disabilities but also about the shock jock radio show culture that makes these types of occurrences a reality. radio stations are so quick to suspend and reprimand their employees (as they should) and the public wants the public figures crucified and paying for their indiscretions but they are still consistently creating the mean spirited prank fueled programs and people are still tuning in which is obviously reflected in the ratings. its so tragic that this happened to someone with an exceptionally difficult life path but thats the risk you run when the biggest a-hole gets the prime slots and the most listeners. the current radio culture has consequences. they have entire segments based on embarrassing and humiliating people on the air and its not damned and even encouraged when its happening to someone without disabilities (although there is always the possibility to have someone with a disability on the other end of the line).
this woman NEVER should've been mocked like that and she deserves an apology. but not just from the insensitive prick that said those horrible things but from all of the people that made that scenario possible. and this comes so very shortly after that nurse in england committed suicide after a prank gone awry by an australian radio duo. pranks arent always funny, and when you dont know the mental state of the person you're pranking you run the risk of doing some genuine harm.