On July 10, The Advocate's Parker Molloy published a story concerning Chicago station WGCI's use of an anti-trans slur about Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox on its Twitter account. The hip-hop and R&B station was tweeting about the John Legend video "You & I ( Nobody in the World )" in which women of all races, ages and body types stare critically at their reflections in the mirror. One of those women is Cox.
Molloy reported that WGCI's tweet read: "Looks like John Legend has a tranny in his new video." She noted that, the following day, WGCI disc jockey UB Rodriguez retweeted the slur. He eventually took it down after claiming he was being bullied.
On July 12, he tweeted an apology that read "I apologize if my Laverne Cox tweet offended anyone that was certainly not my intent."
Radio and industry professional Kevin Ross posted a blog on Radio Facts.com defending Rodriguez. "I have reached out to UBï¿½to discuss the term 'tranny' and there was obviously a misunderstanding," he said.
In October 2013, Rodriguez came out as gay. "I've been this way since I was 18 but have lived a suppressed life because of fear and the negative connotations that come with the word 'gay,'" he wrote.
WGCI is owned by Clear Channel Communications, which is based in San Antonio, Texas. In 2006, the Gay Liberation Network ( GLN ) claimed that "WGCI radio personalities air 'NO HOMO' sound bites and feature artists that call for the death of LGBT people." The GLN were part of a multi-organization protest against Clear Channel that year accusing the corporation of homophobia, sexism and racism.
In 2010, radio host Jack E. Jett claimed that homophobia lead to his dismissal from then Clear Channel-owned CNN radio. In a written statement to Queerty, Jett wrote, "I am saddened and angered as I write this note about what I perceive is some pretty blatant homophobia by Clear Channel Radio. When I called [CNN Program Director] Mr. J.D. Freeman on his obvious homophobia, he feigned being hurt that I would suggest such a thing. I asked him three times if he was homophobic and while he never denied it, he refused to admit it."
In 2013, Sirius XM hosts Lex Staley and Terry James endorsed the shooting of CoCo McDonalda trans* woman who was attacked by a 16-year old boy. "I don't blame him. I would have shot his ass too," they said. The hosts later issued a full apology. Later that year, Clear Channel dropped their program.
As for last week's WGCI incident, Windy City Times received no response to calls and emails to Clear Channel's corporate headquarters in San Antonio. However, Vice President of Communications for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment in Chicago Angela T. Ingram released a short statement that simply recapped the event: "The issue was addressed, apology issued by UB Rodriguez, and tweet was removed."ï¿½