A radio DJ has stormed off air after being told he was not allowed to make a joke about pop singer Demi Lovato coming out as non-binary.
Lovato, 28, shared the news with their fans in a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday, explaining that they will be changing pronouns to they/them – which made US radio host Matt Siegel react with fury.
Sigel, 71, the host of the Matty in the Morning Show in Massachusetts on KISS 108, made a lengthy speech the same day as Lovato’s news, claiming his boss told him not to make fun about the singer’s non-binary admission.
‘By the way, it’s a joke – the whole binary thing. I don’t care what Demi Lovato does but now we need to worry about how you might offend someone’ he said.
The popular radio show, that has a legacy in Boston, has been on the air since January 12, 1981, and this is believed to be the first time he has stormed off.
Radio DJ Matt Siegel stormed off air on Wednesday when told he cannot joke about Demi Lovato coming out as non-binary
The Sorry Not Sorry singer had explained that they identify as nonbinary on Wednesday
The audio of the DJ’s rant has since gone viral, where he said: ‘Today I was anti-wokeness and I can’t do that, so basically, what I’m told is, I can talk about light, funny things… but I can’t do what I really want to do, which is just be a funny comic and tell it like it is.’
The Sorry Not Sorry singer had explained that they identify as pansexual, saying that they don’t want to be seen as an ‘expert or spokesperson,’ and has ‘opened up another level of vulnerability’ by sharing the news with their fans.
Non-binary refers to the idea that there are only two genders, sometimes called a ‘gender binary,’ as binary means ‘having two parts’ (male and female).
Therefore, ‘non-binary’ has become a term people use who feel that they do not fall into one of these two categories, male or female.
The news became a talking point for Siegel, who has been a fixture on Boston radio for more than 40 years, but he was then reprimanded when he allegedly began to make light of the situation.
‘I was just told, and it’s nothing personal because I like my boss, but he just called and said I have to stop talking about what I’ve been talking about this morning. I loved the radio show this morning. I’m totally dead serious,’ Siegel is heard saying in the audio.
‘I felt like I was back. We’re laughing and we’re having fun…this is why I got rich. Okay. Because I told it like it is to my listeners for 40 bleeping years. They pulled the plug on me and said you can’t talk about what you’re talking about,’ he went on.
‘I am the biggest of all time, and they said, ‘Shut up, Matt! Stop talking.’ Well, I hope you’re happy, because I just stopped talking. Matty out,’ he finished, before storming off.
He apologized to his co-hosts, saying: ‘Bill and Lisa and Bex and Dom, I’m sorry for putting you in this position but I was told by my boss I cannot talk about what I want to talk about. By the way, it’s a joke – the whole binary thing. I don’t care what Demi Lovato does but now we need to worry about you might offend someone.’
‘So basically I offended right-wing people and now I offended left-wing people. Basically what they want me to do is you know a lightweight show.’
Lovato, 28, shared the news with their fans in a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday, adding that they will be changing pronouns to they/them
Siegel then spoke to Boston.com about the reason why he stormed off, explaining: ‘I’m against her binary thing; I think she’s a troubled woman and a lot of young people are taking her seriously and it bothers me.’
‘But of course, it’s a comedy show, so I did it in the context of jokes. We were having fun with it, and my boss called up and said that I’d crossed the line and they didn’t want me talking about it anymore…I responded by saying, ‘If I can’t talk about what I’m thinking at this point in my career, I don’t want to be on the radio anymore.”
Siegel, however, has told his colleagues that he will return to the air on Thursday and intends to comment on his walking off the show, the Boston Globe reported.
‘There’s no ill feeling between me and my boss or me and my company, none. They’re doing their jobs. I get it. They got a lot of heat this morning, people complaining about things I said on the air. He doesn’t want me to be fired. His heart was in the right place,’ he said.
The popular radio show, that has a legacy in Boston, has been on the air since January 12, 1981. It is believed to be the first time the presenter has stormed off
Radio DJ Siegel said of Lovato, ‘a lot of young people are taking her seriously and it bothers me’
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, condemned Siegel in a statement to the Boston Globe.
‘Public understanding of what it means to be non-binary is growing and listeners expect better from the media and people with a platform,’ Heng-Lehtinen wrote.
‘When a prominent person such as Demi Lovato shares their story, it matters. It tells other non-binary folks that they are not alone. Lovato and other non-binary and trans people are worthy of respect. We are not jokes or punchlines. We’re your neighbors, your co-workers, friends and family members.’
Siegel also revealed on his show that he has previously been reprimanded for criticizing then-President Donald Trump.
‘This is why I got rich, okay? Because I told it like it is to my listeners for 40 bleepin’ years. They pulled the plug on me and they said ‘you cannot talk about what you’re talking about,’ he said.
‘If I’m left wing and I go anti-Trump, I get in trouble, and today I was anti-wokeness and I can’t do that.’
Alan Chartrand, the general manager of WXKS-FM, told the Boston Globe that he planned to meet with Siegel in the afternoon on Wednesday in a bid to fix the spat.
‘He threatens (to quit) all the time in a joking kind of way. This isn’t the first time he’s threatened this would be the last show,’ Chartrand said.