HAITIANS PROTEST REMARKS BY HOST OF RADIO TALK SHOW
Sun-Sentinel – Sunday, June 14, 1987
Author: By AVIDO D. KHAHAIFA, Staff Writer
Hundreds of Haitians, angered by on-the-air remarks radio talk show host Stan Major made last week, massed at the station on Saturday to demand that he be fired.
Leaders of a Haitian anti-defamation committee, formed in response to Major’s remarks, said that they organized the demonstration of Haitians from Broward and Dade counties to defuse tensions building up over the remarks.
”Fire him. This is the kind of thing that can cause division and riots in the Haitian community,” said Jean Claude Exulien, one of the organizers.
”The same guy said a lot of grabage about Bahamians. A lot of ethnic groups are very angry about what he’s said.”
Protest organizers said that Major, during his WINZ-790 AM broadcast on Tuesday, described Haitians as smelly, a bunch of animals, and people who pick through garbage.
Major, apologizing on the air while speaking with two protesters, said that his statements were a tongue-in-cheek response to a caller’s remarks, and were meant to be a joke.
”If what I said was taken seriously … I humbly apologize to the entire Haitian community,” he said Saturday.
”The Haitian community has done a lot of good here.”
Representatives for the Haitians accepted the apology, but protest leaders said that a meeting will be held in Miami’s Little Haiti area on Monday to draft a letter calling for some kind of action by the station manager against Major.
”It’s a big victory for us,” Exulien said, though many of the protesters wanted Major to come out of the station and apologize to the crowd.
Anthony Guerrier, a lawyer with the anti-defamation committee, said that the group is researching the possibility of suing the station and Major.
Group leaders, however, said that no final decisions will be made until the meeting on Monday.
Police said protesters began gathering about 1 p.m. near the gates of the station, which is about a mile north of Robbie Stadium in northwest Dade County. A police barricade was set up, but throughout the three hours of demonstration, the protesters made no attempt to break through.
”What we’ve got is a peaceful demonstration. We’ve had no problems at all,” Metro-Dade police spokesman Rey Valdes said.
Protest organizers, who drummed up support for the demonstration through Haitian radio stations, said that they had no wish to encroach on Major’s right to freedom of speech.
”We’re saying along with that right, there is a responsibility,” said Marie Toussaint Lacroix, who spoke with Major on the air. ”There is a fine line. We think that he went beyond the line.”
Fritz Bazin, who also spoke with Major on the air, said that the remarks were offensive, even if said in jest.
”You can’t play with words like that. I am offended by the irresponsible statements of someone on the air, heard by millions of people,” he said.
Major, who worked for WINZ in the late ’70’s and returned to the station this month, was described last month by program director Marc Kuhn as controversial.
”He generates issues and could become an issue himself,” Kuhn had said.
Major began broadcasting — his show is from 2 to 6 p.m. daily — on Monday.
Caption: PHOTOS (2)
(Staff photos/ELIOT J. SCHECHTER)Haitians protest outside radio station WINZ Saturday and call for the firing of Stan Major . A crowd began gathering about 1 p.m. near the gates of the station in northwest Dade County.
Memo: Appeared on page 12B of Palm Beach Edition
Index Terms: MINORITY ; PROTEST ; MEDIA ; ETHNIC
Record Number: 00040354
1987 News and Sun-Sentinel Company