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Comcast among companies suspending their advertising on WEEI

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 2/13/2018 By Shirley Leung

a person standing in front of a computer © JEFF FUSCO/ASSOCIATED PRESS/File At least two organizations, including Comcast Corp., have suspended advertising on sports-talk radio station WEEI following racially insensitive comments from one of its hosts.

The cable giant and the City of Boston Credit Union have pulled their campaigns, effectively immediately, after midday host Christian Fauria imitated a well-known sports agent by speaking in a stereotypical Asian accent.

On Friday, WEEI suspended Fauria for five days, characterizing his behavior as an “insensitive and ill-conceived attempt at humor.” The former Patriots tight end is a co-host of the midday “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria” show.

Fauria apologized to his audience on Twitter and to the sports agent Don Yee, who represents Patriots star Tom Brady and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Yee, who is of Chinese descent and was born in the United States, speaks English without an accent.

Still, those actions were not enough for advertisers to stick with the popular sports talk station, which airs Red Sox games.

The incident and others “have made it clear that the culture of the station is not reflective of our values of inclusion, acceptance and mutual respect,” Dan Waltz, president of the City of Boston Credit Union, said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to our diverse membership to spend their advertising dollars responsibly and cannot support what is, in our opinion, the hateful and divisive content that seems to have become a matter of course at WEEI.”

The credit union — one of the oldest in the state, with six branches and 25,000 members in the region — has been advertising with WEEI since 2013.

Entercom Communications, which owns WEEI, did not have any immediate comment.

Fauria’s five-day suspension came a week after the suspension of another WEEI personality, Alex Reimer.

The fill-in host was suspended indefinitely after using a derogatory phrase to describe Brady’s 5-year-old daughter. That incident, which occurred before the Super Bowl, caused Brady to cut short his regular weekly appearance on the station.

Brady has said he is reassessing his relationship with the station.

WEEI, whose hosts are known for their shock-jock style, has over the years ticked off advertisers.

Massachusetts Treasurer Deb Goldberg began pulling ads in September after hosts made offensive remarks about the transgender community. By year’s end, the treasury had canceled its contract with the station.

In 2014, Dunkin’ Donuts canceled all of its advertising on WEEI and its sister stations after morning host Gerry Callahan, who was paid to endorse the company’s products, made a disparaging comment about its doughnuts.


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