This Sunday, iHeartRadio (formerly Clear Channel) will be holding its annual awards show, honoring artists and songs that are popular on its radio stations.
But along with A-list music celebrities like Drake and Adele, iHeartRadio will also be presenting an award to someone whose notoriety comes not from musical talent, but because of his willingness to mock victims of gun violence, use toxic rhetoric about Black people, and demonize Muslims.
Right-wing radio host Michael Berry—who on more than one occasion has referred to Black people as "animals"1,2 and once said he wished that someone would blow up a proposed Muslim community center3—is scheduled to receive iHeartRadio's "Talk Personality of the Year" award.
iHeartRadio should not be honoring hate speech. Join us in calling on CEO Bob Pittman to rescind the award to Michael Berry.
Michael Berry regularly ridicules victims of gun violence in his "Chicago Weekend Crime Report," which includes a bingo game in which listeners are supposed to guess where in the body victims were shot.4
He mocked the shooting of Michael Brown by posting a parody musical re-enactment of the incident and the protests that followed.5
In an episode that focused on the topic of gun control, Berry said "guns don't kill people, Muslims do."6
It's one thing to tolerate this type of speech, but by honoring Michael Berry, iHeartRadio is showing that it thinks his comments about Muslims, Black people, and victims of gun violence are something to be celebrated.
Tell iHeartRadio CEO Bob Pittman to rescind the award that they're planning to give to Michael Berry.
1. "Syndicated Radio Host Michael Berry Calls McKinney Teens 'Jungle Animals'" Media Matters, Jun 9, 2015
2. "Berry: Black UCLA Students Are 'Pack Animals' Who Need To 'Get The F Over Themselves.'" Media Matters, Feb 27, 2014
3. "Right-Wing Radio Host On NY Mosque: ‘I Hope Somebody Blows It Up’" Think Progress, May 28, 2010
4. "Talk radio star who mocks Chicago shooting victims wins national award" Chicago Tribune Mar 2, 2017
5. "Michael Brown: The Musical" YouTube, Oct 6, 2014
6. "TX Radio Host Michael Berry: 'Guns Don't Kill People, Muslims Do'" Media Matters, Dec 8, 2015