Crushing Of Dissent In Georgia

Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler, better known as the Regular Guys on Atlanta’s 96 Rock, are apparently in danger of being fired by Clear Channel again. A couple of years back, they were let go for accidentally airing a (very) blue conversation with a porn star. This time around, they’re on the verge of being canned because of Political Correctness. From Wachs’ blog:

All of this current mess took root, to my knowledge, in March, when the first national Hispanic illegal alien protests were taking place. We were doing our show in Orlando, from Braves spring training. Listeners started calling us on the air to get our opinion of the boycotts that were going on throughout the metro area and in other major cities across America. As the calls increased in volume, it became the only topic that day as it was on many talk shows across the country.

At one point in the show, we asked a producer to go down the hall and invite Yogi and Panda from Viva 105.7, also owned by Clear Channel, on the air to discuss the issue since some listeners had told us that they were exhorting their audience to boycott and take the day off. They agreed to come on and were ushered into our studio with our board operator, and we had a spirited discussion on the air.

In subsequent days, they complained to local Clear Channel management that they had been “disrespected” and that we should be lectured and punished for being in disagreement and making humorous comments about their point of view, all of which occurred exclusively on the air. Clear Channel management told them on more than one occasion that the opinions we express on the air are fair game, as are theirs, and protected not only by CC company policy, but also the 1st Amendment, and that if they didn’t want to look bad on the air, perhaps they shouldn’t agree to come on our show in the future. Nonetheless, the complaints continued unbeknownst to me through the year.

Wachs goes on to recount how he recorded the Viva hosts yelling insults at him in Spanish in the company bathroom, and while he doesn’t say so in his post, I assume he played back that recording on the air. That’s not the kind of bathroom humor you’d normally expect to hear on a morning yuk-yuk show, but I still have a hard time seeing how playing it back would be a firing offense. However…

This sparked another round of complaints to the company, who offered reasonable solutions to satisfy their ongoing and baseless grievances, but, insisting it was about the “honor of their culture,” Mr. Tapia and Mr. Carias went ahead and filed the criminal charge in Fulton County Magistrate Court against me and then filed civil complaints in Superior Court of Fulton County, GA against the company for “negligent hiring” and harassment and invasion of privacy chargess against me personally, omitting in the affidavit the salient fact that all remarks made about them and immigration were on the air, never off the air.

I have been more than willing, at the company

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15 Responses to “Crushing Of Dissent In Georgia”

  1. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Will Collier
    RE: More Than Ridiculous

    “Pretty lame, even for Clear Channel, and filing criminal charges is beyond ridiculous.” — Will Collier

    This is a page torn straight from CAIR’s playbook.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Maybe Joseph Farrah is right after all.]

  2. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Will Collier
    RE: Additionally

    “…insisting it was about the “honor of their culture,” Mr. Tapia and Mr. Carias went ahead and filed the criminal charge…” — Larry Wachs, as cited by Will Collier

    This strikes me as “Viva la Raza!”, stuff. Racism in its purest form.

    The next question is, does their ‘culture’ support ‘honor killings’? Will we see signs like those waved about in London last Summer; “Kill those who insult la Raza”?

    As for the idea that recording someone who is insulting you is an ‘invasion of privacy’, I did that once myself, via my answering service.

    When I played the message back to the management of the service, they were reaching for the phone to call the police on the guy doing the insulting.

    Thinks seem to have changed a tad since that day.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The one who starts casting insults first loses the argument.]

  3. rbj Says:

    Filing criminal charges? That just sounds ridiculous and an abuse of the legal system.

  4. mrsizer Says:

    The 21st century tantrum: You hurt my feelings, I’m going to sue. Whaaaa!

  5. Sigivald Says:

    It’s a stupid thing to sue over, and Clear Channel are a bunch of spineless bastards, but I don’t think anyone’s First Amendment rights are being suppressed.

    Only the State can do that, since the First Amendment only applies to government – Clear Channel has no obligation to let anyone say anything as far as that goes.

    (And no, the civil complaint doesn’t count as suppression either, since its existence doesn’t prevent them speaking, and if they actually did commit a harassment tort, that’s not protected speech.

    As they didn’t, in any reasonable analysis from the available evidence, the complaint should get thrown out rapidly enough.)

  6. Jason Says:

    SIGIVALD, you sir are incorrect. Because the criminal case is before the FULTON COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, the STATE is suppressing the First Amendment.

  7. Steve D Says:

    Once again the whining of a couple will affect the masses. I am so dissapointed with Clear Channel for letting this non-issue reach this seamingly irreconsilable level. What a loss of a talented, entertaining, class act morning radio show. What’s next The Billy Bob morning show again or some other syndicated show because we can’t seem to find quality local talent? Argh! I guess it’s back to NPR’s Morning Edition.

  8. The Gnat's Trumpet Says:

    You could always get Sirius and listen to Stern on the drive in and catch a different segment on the afternoon replay. Besides, Larry and Eric’s show, which I listened to for years, was just a poor immitation of Stern’s, right down to the making fun of the manager and on-air berating of the staff.

  9. Brian Macker Says:

    I understand that in some jurisdictions it is a crime to record someone without their permission. Not sure if it only applies to phone conversations or not. That may be how they got in trouble. It’s silly but by doing so they may have exposed their employer to a lawsuit. So I can see why CC may not like it.

  10. The Gnat's Trumpet Says:

    In Georgia, any party to a communication can record it. In this situation, they knew Larry was there in the bathroom and they were directing insults to him, as such he was a party to the communication and can record it. Also, the eavesdropping statute only applies to private conversations in a private place. This conversation was in a public restroom and was not private because it was directed toward Larry.

    Not a fan of the Regulars, but this was no crime.

  11. 5th of November Says:

    Censorship is on the rise. Already the US gov’t detains peaceful demonstrators, bans books like “America Deceived” from Amazon and fires 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. This case is just the latest in curtailing Free Speech.
    Support indy media.
    Final link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):
    America Deceived (book)

  12. rosignol Says:

    Oh, great, the indymedia types are back.

    Here’s a free clue, Mr. ‘5th of November’: the right to say whatever you like does not mean we are required to take you seriously.

  13. Frank Says:

    Unfortunately, it appears TRG and Clear Channel have been trumped by the race card.

  14. Vermont Neighbor Says:

    The Regular Guys and station management likely cleared the legal aspects of this bit, which is aptly described above by Gnat. Not knowing the specifics of Georgia law, if a party is able to record what’s directed at them (conversation and personal insults) and in a public location, then this will boil over, up, down and straight into a new contract at a satellite channel. People are sick of this political correct crap that’s run amok. Firing people and taking it outside the office is wrong. Devoting media coverage to this type of thing is discouraging. It enables minority acts to further rape the system and cry victim.

    It’s ironic that these two Viva announcers were asking listeners to skip work, skip school and support the concept of illegal infestation. But now they want protection from the courts. Are these two even legal or can they be deported?

  15. PI Outsource Says:

    As an Atlantan living in the Philippines, I can only pray that Larry and Eric move to Sirius soon. I love my Howard internet stream. Gimme some Regular guys.. yeah c’mon!

    from Manila with love.

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