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iHeartMedia Fires ‘Kimberly and Beck’ Hosts for Referring to ‘N-Word’ in Discussion of Protests

”We will not tolerate this kind of behavior,“ said a statement from the company

iHeartMedia announced Wednesday that two Rochester, New York, radio hosts were fired after referring to the “N-word” in discussions of ongoing unrest Tuesday.

“iHeartMedia & Radio 95.1 made the decision to terminate Kimberly and Beck yesterday as soon as we learned of their comments. We will not tolerate this kind of behavior, which is antithetical to our core values and beliefs and to our commitment to our community and everyone in it,” says a statement from the company.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, local “Kimberly and Beck” hosts Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck were discussing the attack of a local couple Tuesday, following a recent Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Rochester. Ray said “N-word” three times during the discussion, questioning if the people involved were behaving “N-word-ish” and “N-word-ly.” The hosts did not outright say the full word.

“Let me ask you a question: Were they acting N-word-ish?” Ray said on the iHeartMediao-owned WAIO-FM, where the program aired from 2 p.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET every day.

The two hosts then went back and forth about whether they could refer to the “N-word,” saying, “No one is offended by that.”

As it turns out, people definitely were offended by that. Calls for their termination poured in on Twitter.

One user called the conversation the “saddest” they’d ever heard. Perez Hilton rallied his 130,000 followers to contact the station and demand the duo’s termination, too.

Deanna King, who also broadcasts on 95.1 WAIO-FM in Rochester, tweeted, “I am appalled at what was said on The Kimberly and Beck Show. I have never and would never spew such racist hate. I’ve told management I won’t work at a company that employs people like this. I’m raising my children to love everyone and stand up for what is right. I will, too.”

She confirmed in a subsequent tweet that on Wednesday morning, she and the team from the morning show hosted by Brother Wease refused to work. According to the listener she tweeted to, the station aired a replay of their show.

Brother Wease, retweeted former station employee Bryn McDaniels, who wrote critical comments of the duo.