Boston Sports radio producer on WEEI, Chris Curtis, apologized Thursday morning after appearing to make a racial joke about ESPN’s Mina Kimes earlier this week.
Tuesday morning on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show, the hosts and producers were discussing Boston’s potential ban on mini liquor bottles, often referred to as “nips.” While listing their favorite “nips,” referring to the mini liquor bottles, Curtis said, “I’d probably go Mina Kimes.” The term is also an ethnic slur used against people of Japanese descent. Kimes, who was born in Omaha, NE, is of Korean descent.
— Dave Cullinane (@davecullinane) March 22, 2023
Curtis opened Thursday morning’s episode of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI announcing he has been suspended until next Wednesday, claiming he intended to say the name of actress Mila Kunis, but accidentally said Mina Kimes.
“In a pathetic failed attempt at a one-liner, I attempted to bring up Mila Kunis, which was not really that funny – sophomoric and sexist,” Curtis began. “But for reasons I don’t understand, I said Mina Kimes. That was never the intention for me to say her name. It had nothing to do with the subject matter and it dragged her into a controversy through no fault of her own regarding a slur and her race and is not at all what my intention was, but it doesn’t matter because of the absolute chaos that my words created for someone who’s just doing her job covering the NFL at ESPN.
“So, I want to apologize to Mina Kimes, I want to apologize for the stupid, lame attempt at a joke, it was something that just, there’s really no other way to put it, it was dumb and it was silly. And it’s brought a lot of things to the forefront for people that did nothing wrong and it’s all because I had a clumsy attempt to try and bring humor to a story in Boston.”
Using the strange defense that he meant to say Kunis, who is Ukrainian, in reference to a conversation about “nips,” seems to claim the joke was intended to be sexist, not racist. Curtis proceeded to apologize to listeners of The Greg Hill Show, he did not apologize to Kunis.
“I agree with you, Curtis,” host Greg Hill said. “That is not what this show is and that is not what this radio station is. When it comes to that happening on this radio show I think that all of us apologize to those that were offended by it.”
Curtis called working at WEEI “the dream of my life.” In 2018, the entire radio station suspended programming for a day to undergo mandatory sensitivity training following a string of offensive on-air remarks made by various hosts, culminated by WEEI host Christian Fauria using a stereotypical Asian accent while impersonating Tom Brady’s agent Don Yee.
As of Thursday morning, WEEI parent company, Audacy, has not issued an official comment on the station’s latest incident.
Wednesday afternoon, ESPN provided a statement to Awful Announcing regarding Curtis’ seemingly offensive joke about Kimes, saying, “There is no place for these type of hateful comments, which were uncalled for and extremely offensive.” Kimes has responded to the incident by changing her Twitter profile picture to an image of Mila Kunis.