Action was taken today by the New York radio station K-98.3 against Morning Show hosts Steve Harper and Leeana Costa. The duo has been suspended for making up the story about a bigoted response to a birthday invitation extended by two gay dads for their daughter Sophia. At the center of the hoax was the following note they claimed was scribbled on the returned invitation.
I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your ‘lifestyle. I’m sorry Sophia has to grow up this way. If you have an issue or need to speak to me [name and number redacted].Outrage generated by these ugly words was swift and viral. However, once the story was discovered to be a lie, the backlash was even more fast and furious. In response, the radio station announced on their Facebook page this morning that the hosts have been suspended.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014, the K-98.3 (WKJY) Morning Show with Steve and Leeana aired a story about a girl’s birthday party and one parent’s objection to the same-sex situation of that girl’s parents. After this aired, it was brought to K-98.3 management’s attention that all the details of the story were completely fabricated independently by Steve and Leeana. This was done without the knowledge of K-98.3 management or ownership. The story, presented as a real event, was, in fact, fictitious. An internal investigation was quickly launched which has resulted in the immediate suspension of Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson from the K-98.3 Morning Show. In an effort to move forward, K-98.3 has been speaking with local community organizations, such as the Long Island GLBT Services Network, to ensure the fabricated story does not result in further damages with respect to the GLBT community.Clearly the radio station recognized the harm the fabrication of this story did and has taken steps to mitigate the damage. Many in the LGBT community have called for the hosts to be terminated from the station, me included. This may still be forthcoming. Even if that doesn't come to pass, I applaud the actions taken by management for sending a clear message that our struggle for equality is not a game to be played for ratings or to drum up phony controversy for sport. What Harper and Costa did was contemptible and if they are allowed to return to their jobs, I would hope they use the time their suspensions provides them to talk with our community and gain a firm understanding of how and why their hoax undermined and belittled the real prejudices we face daily.