Big People – Small Victory

Wired 96.5 is an urban hip hop/r&b/pop station out of Philadelphia. I have (had) this station preset on my radio because I like a lot of contemporary music, and I buck the trend that people my age take by continuing to live in the past musically.

Like most stations, they put a lot of crazy stuff on their Facebook page to keep their listeners involved. Most of the time the Facebook discussions are about stuff like Chris Brown, local junk going on in Philly, you know, radio station stuff.

Well, today they decided to put up a pic on their Facebook page from a website called EpicFail.com. Here’s the pic in question:

I’m not interested in discussing the Epic Fail website. It’s what I expect from them. It’s NOT what I expected from Wired 96.5.

Along with the pic was a caption from this radio station that said “EPIC FAIL! – BIG GIRLS NEED LOVE TOO!”

I found this insulting and demeaning to all people of size. As always there was a flurry of about 20-30 comments of fat hate, from “Ewwwww” to, “How does she fit into pants from Victoria Secret?”. As many of you know, I have always fought the fight, regardless of who did it with me (or didn’t, as the fat community at times has difficulties getting everyone on the same page, even if it’s to fight fat bigotry and hatred. See my blog called “Going It Alone”.

So, it didn’t take me long to respond with a comment on their Facebook page. My first comment was directed at the fact that here’s a fat girl who has a guy with his arms around her, so it doesn’t appear that she needs love, since it looks like she’s already getting some. Then I ripped into the station for allowing such fat hate to appear on their Facebook page, noting that it’s likely that half of their audience would be considered obese.

Several months ago, I joined a group on Facebook called Rolls Not Trolls. It’s an interesting group that posts fat positive messages on forums that have fat negative articles, and corrects misconceptions that are written in places, in an effort to set the record straight. They post in flurries, and in numbers.

So, of course I mentioned to my friends in the group that this Facebook page had a little negative something going on.

Like soldiers armed for battle, they went right in, and began to post, taking the station to task for being so insensitive, and making a horrible business decision. Suddenly the tone of the posts on their Facebook page began to change, as people from outside of our group must have felt empowered to speak out, and rip into 96.5 for their fat hate. While some of the comments were directed at the haters, the bulk of the comments were to the station, since many felt that the fat hate would never have been manifested had the radio station not posted the picture.

Well, wonder of wonders, the picture and comments were removed from the Facebook page.

Several members of my group, while reveling in victory even sent messages to the station manager, thanking them for taking the pic down. I’m not as forgiving. See, there are FCC rules that radio stations must comply with (I worked in radio for some time with my pro wrestling radio/internet show, and was made aware of the FCC rules). One of the regulations involves hate speech, and this particular posting on their Facebook page can translate to a form of hate speech. And while that area is still being litigated and run up against the First Amendment, they could be taken to task for it.

More important, this station has advertisers. Fat people have money too, you know, and they spend it wisely. So, when advertisers are told their products and services are going to be boycotted because of a radio station’s actions, how do you think they’ll react?

I’m really proud of the Rolls Not Trolls group on Facebook. We reacted quickly, and effectively, and the pic was removed. I want to go one step further, though.

I’d like those of you who are reading this blog to contact the station manager, and let her know that the station was out of line by posting this picture on Facebook, and that you intend to boycott the station and their advertisers until they issue an apology for what they did. Send your e-mails to Natalie Conner (Station Manager) at nconner@bbgiphilly.com

I intend to call the station tomorrow and speak with her, and will do my best to update you all this weekend as to what was discussed. Better yet, it would be smart business for her to contact me, as I’ve already sent her a copy of this blog. A little food for thought, so to speak.

The days of fat people (and those who love them) just rolling over when fat hatred and ridicule takes place is over. As a group, Rolls not Trolls is small in numbers, but we’re large in voice.

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