Sports Radio Host Suspended Over 'Hurtful' Remarks

Boston host Tony Massarotti joked about Black people being car thieves
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2023 5:34 PM CST
Sports Radio Host Suspended Over 'Hurtful' Remarks
Beasley Media says on-air employees will take sensitivity training.   (Getty Images/ Patrick Daxenbichler)

Boston sports radio host Tony Massarotti has been suspended for the rest of the week over what he has described as "insensitive" remarks about Black people. On Friday, Mike Felger, Massarotti's co-host on 98.5's "Felger & Mazz" show, was broadcasting remotely from New Orleans when Massarotti commented on two Black people sitting behind Felger at a hotel business service center, the Boston Herald reports. "They can’t hear us, right?" Massarotti asked. "OK, so I would be careful if I were you, because the last time you were around a couple of guys like that, they stole your car."

On a previous trip to New Orleans, where his daughter attends college, Felger's parents' car was stolen after he borrowed it and parked it on a street corner with the keys inside, the Herald reports. Felger didn't respond to his co-host's remarks Friday, but he called it a "bad moment" on Monday, when Massarotti apologized. The remarks "were insensitive," Massarotti said, per the Spun. "They were hurtful. And frankly, they hurt the cause for those of us who believe in racial and social equality and all of those things. And I do. I’m on that side of the line, which is what made this thing so difficult in so many different ways."

"So I owe everyone an apology," Massarotti said. "It’s not who I am. It’s not who we are." On Tuesday's show, Felger said the company "has decided to suspend Tony for the rest of the week without pay." Groups including the New Democracy Coalition of Massachusetts had called the remarks racist and urged station owner Beasley Media to suspend Massarotti. "His apology should be accepted," the group's founder, the Rev. Kevin Peterson, said Tuesday. "But he and his station must do more than respond to this issue beyond mere lip service." The company said all on-air employees in the Boston area would take sensitivity training. (More radio stories.)

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