Being professionally offensive is one of those things that’s hard to do. I’m not saying it can’t be done: insult comic Bianca Del Rio just won RuPaul’s Drag Race (spoiler alert, but not really, because it was all over the news), while Comedy Central has created a cottage industry around roasts, but what few people realize is that to really make it work, you need to be working at the height of your intelligence and with the best intention. Otherwise, you’re going to wind up pissing everyone off and putting your foot in your mouth.
Such was the case with “shock jock” duo Kimberly and Beck. The Rochester radio hosts decided to discuss the inclusion of transgender healthcare benefits for city employees. And by that, I mean they trivialized the issue, fed their audience misleading information, and gossiped about a transgender student at a nearby school. What’s the worst that can happen?
Well for starters, they got shitcanned. “This morning Entercom fired Kimberly and Beck effective immediately. Their hateful comments against the transgender community do not represent our station or our company. We deeply apologize to the transgender community, the community of Rochester, and anyone else who was offended by their hateful comments. We are proud of our past work on behalf of the local LGBT community and we remain committed to that partnership.”
According to The Huffington Post, Kimberly tried to calm the backlash against her and Beck by allegedly tweeting, “Freedom of Speech includes the freedom to offend others. You aren’t granted a right to not be offended in this life #getoverit #ROC”
So that happened. What Kimberly neglected to mention is that yes, what she said was legal according to freedom of speech. She cannot be jailed for what she said. But that doesn’t mean other people can’t disagree with her. Kimberly is just as free to voice her opinion as we are to disagree with it. She can’t say, “Fuck the rest of you, I got mine!”
Even more than that, what depresses me is that there are people out there using offensive humour to highlight important issues and subvert the kind of dumbass bigotry they face on a regular basis. And then we have people like Kimberly and Beck, blindly flailing through important issues without thought or reason. It’s not insult comedy; it’s just insulting.