Time will tell whether or not Steven Seagal really moonlights as a sex trafficker. But while we’re waiting for the outcome of this case, it goes without saying that sex slavery is no laughing matter, right? Apparently not: Shane French, a.k.a. Rover of Rover’s Morning Glory in Columbus, OH, seems to think it’s hilarious and recently praised Seagal on his radio show, calling the actor a “hero” and “the man.”
The oh-so-witty banter over this topic continued, wherein Rover and his co-hosts fantasized about taking in their own sex slaves. When a female co-host observed that what they were discussing was illegal, the response was, “Who would tell? The slut?”
Wow. Have you fallen off the couch yet, barely able to contain your laughter?
A state-chapter member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) heard the broadcast and didn’t find it very funny, either. So she called in to the station in order to voice her outrage. Greeted charmingly with, “Would you like to be Rover’s sex slave?” the NASW member replied, “No.” She went on to state her purpose of telling Rover and his cohorts that sex slavery is a crime. She then did just that, pointing out that their subject of mockery was called human trafficking, and their unfunny approach failed to respect human beings. Morning Glory’s response? Talking loudly amongst themselves over the NASW member and finally saying, “Someone needs to shove something in your month and exploit you. Thanks for calling … ” Click.
Yeah, it went like that.
Rightfully incensed at the exchange, the NASW member then circulated her story in order to raise awareness of the radio show’s promotion of human trafficking. Clear Channel, the owner of the radio station (and several radio stations nationwide), have responded that they are reviewing the matter, but at this time “respectfully disagree” with the NASW member’s interpretation of the show and her exchange. While the company “takes seriously the issue of human trafficking,” they feel the “irreverent hosts approached a news story … with their typical broad humor.”
It’s a fine line, though, between humor and harm. We all respond to different forms of humor, and I’ll admit, “shock” radio is not my own personal cup of tea. I also understand that we’re welcome to drink whatever kind of tea we’d like — or change the station, as the case may be. But at a time in our country, our world, where the collective attitude toward slavery is blindness and indifference, where millions continue to suffer physical and emotional trauma daily because of that blindness and indifference? The sort of jokes that applaud sex slavery aren’t just tasteless, they can be downright damaging.
Not only was Morning Glory’s audience taught to ignore human trafficking issues the morning of that broadcast, they were taught to believe it’s funny to enslave a human being. And that’s a giant step backward for all of us, especially Ohio, whose residents — let’s be honest — shouldn’t be laughing about human trafficking at all.
Photo credit: Ctd 2005