Korean American Community Protests Racist Remarks by Hosts of “The John and Ken Show”

Members of the SFV JACL and the Korean Amerian community protest outside KFI Studios.

Members of San Fernando JACL take part in a Jan. 19 protest in a show of solidarity with the Korean American community.

By Pacific Citizen Staff
February 3, 2012

In a show of solidarity, members of JACL joined the Korean American community in protesting racist remarks made by the hosts of the popular Clear Channel-owned “The John and Ken Show” on KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles.

On a Jan. 5 airing of the talk radio show, hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou began a discussion on unethical business practices. Part of their comments included statements about Korean American painters as “scam guys” who seek to “rip people off.”

The comments stirred immediate responses from groups like the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the Korean Resource Center, which called the hosts’ comments racist and a continuing attack on immigrant communities, including the Latino and African American communities.

“As an organization dedicated to combating injustice and hate against Asian and other immigrant communities APALC is here today to stand in support of the Korean American community and organizations, such as Korean Resource Center, who demand that Clear Channel and KFI AM pull this show from the air,” said Senior Staff Attorney Yungsuhn Park at a press conference Jan. 17. “In Southern California, which is home to the largest Korean population outside of Korea and one of the largest and most diverse immigrant communities in the U.S., there is no room for the kind of hateful and divisive rhetoric that the show regularly employs.”

Other groups taking part in the press conference included the National  Korean American Service & Education Consortium, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. In addition to condemning the remarks made by the hosts of “The John and Ken Show” the groups are asking for advertisers to pull their support of the show. Some of the current advertisers include: Chevron, Hyundai, North America and Target.

Members of the Korean American Bar Association also noted in a letter to KFI AM 640 Program Director Robin Bertoluci that Kobylt and Chiampou make a distinction between “Korean” and “American.”

“Messers. Kobylt and Chiampou seem to have forgotten that Korean Americans are, in fact, Americans,” the letter states. “Comments like theirs only serve to foster negative stereotypes about the Korean American community, which has in fact contributed tremendously to the economic, social, and cultural fabric of Southern California and the United States.”

Protestors also took their demands to the headquarters of KFI Radio in Burbank at a rally Jan. 19 sponsored by the Korean Resource Center. Members of the San Fernando JACL held signs that read “Stop Racism” and “Keep Hate Speech off the Air” to show their solidarity with the Korean American community.

The recent protest by the Asian American community is part of a larger effort by the National Hispanic Media Coalition which has also complained in the past about the anti-immigrant comments by the hosts of “The John and Ken Show” towards Latinos. The group is calling for the show to be taken off the air.

For more information, krcla.org/blog.

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