A HOT 97 DJ in New York has been suspended indefinitely over an on-air comment linking Haitian women to HIV.
The comment sparked outrage in New York's Haitian community, prompting activists and local leaders to call for his dismissal.
"The reason I'm HIV negative is because I don't mess with Haitian girls," DJ Cipha Sounds said Friday on the hip-hop station's morning show, which is owned by Emmis Communications.
Sounds, whose real name is Luis Diaz, moved fast to issue an on-air apology the same day as complaints began flooding the station.
"I made a stupid tasteless joke that was a one-liner and taken totally the wrong way and I want to say sincerely that I apologize," he said.
It wasn't enough to save him from being suspended indefinitely. He will also undertake sensitivity training focused on the Haitian community, specifically, "the challenges the Haitian community has faced in terms of the HIV epidemic," Emmis Communications said in a statement Wednesday.
HOT 97 will also work with community leaders to increase awareness of HIV and community programs to address the HIV epidemic, the media group said.
"Cipha made an immediate public apology and recognizes his insensitivity and the negative impact his comments have on all Haitians," said Alex Cameron, SVP/Market Manager of Emmis-New York.
"The Haitian community is an important part of our listenership whom we respect and value. The suspension is an indication of the importance we place on delivering a product that respects our Haitian audience. It's a
very regrettable and unfortunate circumstance for all involved and particularly because we know this is not the nature of this young man who has been an advocate of the Haitian community and a big part of our fund-raising efforts for Haiti."