The Providence Journal on “unapologetic” John DePetro:
The WPRO personality returned to the air Monday morning, sounding unapologetic and characterizing the criticism against him as an attempt by politicians and unions to stifle free speech.
“It’s very simple,” DePetro said. “Politicians and unions should not interfere and try to silence public opinion. Period. That’s it. … The last time I checked, this is still America.”
The “opinion” of one cynical talk radio epithet-flinger is not public opinion. Public opinion is the opinion of many; of the public; of everyone; it’s not the opinion of one opportunistic shit.
DePetro came under fire in November for his language in criticizing female protesters outside a fundraiser for General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo. The Providence Democrat and gubernatorial candidate has drawn the ire of organized labor for authoring the 2011 state pension overhaul that unions are challenging in court.
Talking about the protesters on his show, DePetro said: “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment. …You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use … it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.”
He has a legal right to say that; saying that is not a crime. It does not follow that he has a right to say it on a particular radio station.
Following his comments, a union-backed group called For Our Daughters RI created a petition on Change.org asking that local jewelry maker Alex and Ani pull its advertising from the radio station until DePetro was fired. The company declined, though at last count almost 6,700 people have signed the online petition.
I just signed it. It’s here.
In addition, political leaders from both parties said they would not appear on any WPRO show unless DePetro were removed. Some others, including Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, said they would not appear on DePetro’s show, but would appear on others on the station.
The drive to remove DePetro will continue in earnest, with more advertisers being asked to boycott the station until he is removed, said Maureen Martin, chairwoman of For Our Daughters RI, who is also political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.
“We’re rolling it out,” said Martin, “as long as this misogynist is on the air.”
The station “made some sort of business decision, I presume” to keep him, she said, “but I think he’s bad for business, and he’s going to be worse for business.”
Martin said For Our Daughters will also mount a campaign to get political candidates not to advertise on the radio station.
Noting that DePetro’s contract is set to expire in March, “clearly the timing couldn’t be better,” Martin said. “Maybe it gives a time span to work with.”
It’s late April and he’s still there, so that means his contract was renewed. That’s disgusting.