Just days after Whitney Houston’s body was laid to rest, her name is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Recently, two radio hosts were suspended after calling the late singer a crude name during a live broadcast, and days ago, a suburban youth baseball coach was benched for calling Houston the n-word in a Facebook post.
The hosts of The John and Ken Show, which airs on KFI AM 640, recently went on a rant calling the Grammy Award winning singer a “crack ho.”
“At some point you’re just sick of it all, and so is everybody else in the industry; all her friends and hangers on, everybody who knew had to deal with her. It’s like ah Jesus… here comes the crack ho again, what’s she gonna do, ah look at that, she’s doin’ handstands next to the pool. Very good crack ho… after while, everybody’s exhausted. And then you find out she’s dead. It’s like really; took this long,” one of the hosts said.
The hosts were subsequently suspended for nine days because of their unsavory remarks about Houston, and today black leaders are scheduled to meet with the station’s management to demand the pair’s resignation, and more diversity for the station’s on-air personalities and newsroom staff.
Last week, John Kelly, a suburban youth baseball coach in Chicago, was suspended after using the n-word in a post on his Facebook page about the singer’s death.
“I’m so sick of reading about this dumb stupid ni**er Whitney Houston,” his Facebook post read. He later said, “I didn’t even realize I put [the n-word] in until after I sent it.”
These recent incidents may lead some to ask if Houston’s damaged public image, in the latter part of her life, gives license for people to talk negatively about her today.
Houston’s widely reported battle with addiction plagued much of her career, and she was the butt of many jokes over the past decade. For instance, on countless occasions, Maya Rudolph spoofed the “It’s Not Right but It’s Okay” singer on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Rudolph often portrayed Houston as being erratic, spontaneous, drug-addicted, loud and obnoxious.
However, during Rudolph’s most recent stint hosting SNL, the night of Houston’s funeral, the Up All Night actress and show writers decided against spoofing the late singer.
Several major media outlets have also aired negative commentary about Houston just days after of her death.
Nancy Grace of CNN suggested that someone might have pushed Houston into the tub where she was found submerged in her Beverly Hills hotel room the day she died.
“I’d like to know…who let her slip or pushed her underneath that water. Who let Whitney Houston go under her water?” Grace said.
Some felt Fox News’ conservative host Bill O’Reilly also crossed the line when he suggested that Houston committed suicide.
“Whitney Houston killed herself. Do we all understand that? You don’t use hard drugs for decades…you don’t spend $100 million on them, not wanting to kill yourself,” O’Reilly said.
With the deaths of other high profile celebrities, like Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson, there was subtle criticism of their troubled personal lives, but it was usually not quite as overtly mean-spirited and off-color as some of the commentary on Houston’s passing.
It is undeniable that the “I Will Always Love You” singer’s legacy will consist of career highs and personal lows, but has the media been insensitive in addressing her flaws?
Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC