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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
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Immigrant Rights Groups Speak Out Against "John and Ken"

The conservative radio hosts have come under fire for controversial comments towards Whitney Houston and others. 

Officials representing a number of immigrant rights groups announced they are coming together in opposition to the hosts of the popular talk-radio program “The John and Ken Show,” after co-host John Kobylt made inflammatory remarks during a January 5 broadcast.

John and Ken. Courtesy
John and Ken. Courtesy

The duo is currently serving a two-week suspension for insensitive comments about Whitney Houston days after the singer's death.

Representatives from organizations such as the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), and the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance held a press conference in January to announce their opposition to the show.

Meeting at the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles, the representatives detailed what they described as the show’s longstanding pattern of “false, racially-charged claims” against Korean Americans and other immigrant communities. Their latest complaint against the programs hosts centers around comments made by Kobylt on his show that claimed Korean painters have unethical business practices, which the representatives said fosters negative stereotypes.

Chanhaeng Lee, a representative of the Koreatown Workers Alliance, said such remarks remind him of the social conditions and racial discrimination experienced by African Americans decades ago.

Lee, among the other representatives, also brought up the issue of the free speech rights, and the problem it poses to their cause.

“What they are advocating is not freedom of speech, but freedom of hate speech,” said Lee, “They are using the U.S. Constitution to destroy the U.S. Constitution.”

Jorge-Mario Cabrera, Director of Communications with CHIRLA, had similar sentiments when recounting past incidents of inflammatory rhetoric coming from “The John and Ken Show.”

“Their freedom of speech intercedes with my freedom of speech,” said Cabrera, who said the show’s hosts spread his personal phone numbers, resulting in a number of hate messages being sent to him. Cabrera said the hosts did this because of his support for the California DREAM Act, which extends financial support to college students who are undocumented immigrants.

Cabrera also stressed that because the show has such a large audience, 2 million daily listeners, their remarks and statements should be subjected to closer scrutiny.

Each representative at the press conference said their ultimate goal is to have “The John and Ken Show,” which broadcasts daily on radio station KFI, pulled from its programming schedule.

Representatives like Miwa Lee, Development Director with the Korean Resource Center, cautioned that they do not intend to take legal action against the show, since the First Amendment issues would make that difficult. Instead, they said they hope to convince enough sponsors to withdraw their support that the radio station would be forced to end the program.

“There is not much we can do legally, so we are hoping to use social pressure to achieve our goal,” said Lee.

The hosts have yet to respond to the organizations’ condemnation, but Lee said she expects they will likely parody them in one of their upcoming shows.

John and Ken will return to the air Monday, February 27.


As an immigrant that entered the US legally I am sickened by all the "poor me" groups. It is pathetic that most of the people I hear complaining are effectively the "Parasites of society". All you hear is give-me, give-me, give-me. How about voicing what contribution they make to society.


This happened IN JANUARY? Yet you felt the need to post all the details of this now, when it serves the group's best interest? Come on. Plus, John and Ken are exactly the diversity of opinion LA needs. They've taken down Meg Whitman, bogus bills ... They're the reason even people who hate them should want to protect them.

Although I admire Jon and Ken for their remarkable influence in the commnunity, as a hispanic, I do see they give many negative comments when it comes to minorities.

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