Boston radio host Tony Massarotti found himself in hot water last week because of an ignorant joke he made about two Black people who were sitting behind one of his co-hosts.
During his show, Felger & Mazz on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, Massarotti attempted to make a joke to co-host Mike Felger, who was broadcasting remotely from a room where two Black people were sitting behind him.
— Dave Cullinane (@davecullinane) February 18, 2023
“I wanna know now who the two guys behind you are,” said Massarotti. “Because if I were you… They can’t hear us, right? Okay, 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.”
As you can imagine, the “joke” didn’t go over so well. So on Monday, Massarotti issued an apology.
— The Kirk Minihane Show (@kirkminshow) February 20, 2023
“Okay, so, as you said late in the show on Friday, I made some comments that angered and upset some people,” said Massarotti. “And rightfully so. So, I wish I could take them back. I can’t. They were insensitive, 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. It’s not who I am, it’s not who we are. I can tell you that until I’m blue in the face.
“Those of you who know me will believe it. Those of you who don’t, won’t, and you probably shouldn’t. If I saw and heard what you did, I would feel the same way. And you have a right to be upset. The only thing I can really do is apologize for it. Again, when we’re talking about these sorts of issues, there is a line somewhere, and I can assure you I stand on the right side of it. But you, again, that doesn’t excuse what I said or did on Friday. It was really–I meant, if anyone cares, to poke fun at you, Mike. It didn’t come off that way. It came off as something far broader and ignorant.
“And I’m regretful of that. I don’t know what more I can say I’m sorry to you and to Murray for dragging you into it. To Jimmy Stewart, to people at the station, let alone friends and colleagues in the business who are dealing with it on assorted different levels. All I can tell you is it’s not who I am. Got a little silly and stupid at the end of the show, trying to be a wise-a– like I often am. And, it just came out wrong. And I wish I could give you a better answer than that because we’re in a business where we should be careful about what we say and how we say it. And, I wasn’t.”
Massarotti fought back tears while issuing his apology.
When it comes to apologies, at least he alluded to the fact that no one had to accept his. A common refrain following apologies is that everyone is meant to accept it. That isn’t always the case, and being aware of that, in his defense, is at least an acknowledgment.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t a good day to be Tony Massarotti on Monday. Hopefully, moving forward, he truly understands why it was wrong and thinks before offering up his next “joke.” We’ll presumably find out if Massarotti’s employment is impacted by all of this as well soon.