Radio Station Hit by Advertiser Backlash Over Transgender 'Freaks' Remark

Bank of America, Verizon, Chipotle and other companies have pulled advertising from a Sacramento radio station after talk show hosts referred to transgender people as "freaks" with mental disorders.

During a May 28 show, one of the three hosts on KRXQ's "Rob, Arnie & Dawn" show said he would hit his son with his shoe if he put on high heels. Another said he would tell a boy he was "a little idiot" if he asked to wear a dress.

Officials with Bank of America Corp. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said Friday their companies pulled advertising because they found the comments offensive.

"We listened to the segment and the follow-up comments, and found it quite difficult to defend," Bank of America spokesman Joe Goode said.

Representatives of Verizon Communications Inc., Nissan Motor Co. and Carl's Jr. restaurants also said they stopped advertising.

Transgender advocates and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have sought an apology from two of the show's three hosts, Arnie States and Rob Williams. The third host, Dawn Rossi, defended transgender people on the show.

"Our issue here is that Rob and Arnie advocated violence against children because of who they are and have failed to take responsibility for their dehumanizing and defamatory words," said Rashad Robinson, senior director of programs at GLAAD.

John Geary, vice president and general manager of KRXQ, did not return a telephone message or e-mail Friday.

During a follow-up show Wednesday, States said he never advocated abuse. He said his comments were meant only as a joke and that he didn't do anything wrong, according to a report in The Sacramento Bee.

During the May 28 broadcast, States and Williams began discussing the California Supreme Court ruling uphold Proposition 8, the initiative on last November's ballot that banned same-sex marriage. The hosts then turned their attention to transgender children.

"If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him," States said on the air.

Williams suggested transgender people suffered from a mental disorder.

"They are freaks. They are abnormal," he said. "Not because they're girls trapped in boys bodies, but because they have a mental disorder that needs to be somehow gotten out of them."