SeaWorld Supporter and Radio DJ Publicly Mocked a High Schooler Over the Air
Have you ever wondered what kind of person hides behind the power of radio to pick on a kid? San Diego’s KOGO 600′s Casey Bartholomew, that’s who. Bartholomew felt the need to mock a high school student who doesn’t want to go to SeaWorld and didn’t think a visit to the amusement park should be part of the school curriculum. KOGO is part of the oxymoronic “i heart radio” lineup, ‘you heartless radio’ is more accurate.
(Below is an open letter to KOGO sent by someone who has the moral integrity to stand up to this bully.)
Casey Bartholomew (All Access Photo)
The Open Letter to KOGO:
I understand that your station often seeks to get a rise out of people by the rude and shocking way some news items are covered. I get it, and I listen sometimes.
But you crossed the line on June 27 with guest host Casey Bartholomew.
I’m not the type of person who writes letters and goes around calling people names just because I disagree with them. I do, however, stick up for people when I feel they are being bullied… and I call a punk a punk when I see one, especially when it is a grown man bullying a young student in public.
Your station ran nothing short of a bullying session against a child whose “crime” was to follow his conscience and respectfully engage with his community and school board.
During the June 27 segment on the Poway Unified School District’s decision to revisit its field trip policies based on concerns over Sea World, Mr. Bartholomew described how “some high school student got his panties in a wad” urging the District board to sever ties with Sea World.
Zach Affolter is that student. Zach did not choose violence as a route to express his concern. He didn’t vandalize anything. He collected over 2,000 petition signatures and addressed his local school board. He did it the right way… and is called a “punk kid” on your station.
Mr. Bartholomew went on to say, “I guarantee that standing behind him [are] hippy parents… laying around on the side of the road smoking pot and dropping acid and having sex in the street… I bet they’re sitting back there saying ‘yeth do it, my boy ith going to have an impact.’”
I don’t know what was intended by the lispy voice mimicking “wus” parents or the repeated “panties in a bunch” lines. The “sissy” voice whenever Bartholomew pretended to be someone making an argument against him is offensive to women or gay or sensitive men… or whoever the hell he thought he was portraying. This is something that even my 7-year old doesn’t do.
I understand that your station will vigorously defend major advertisers like Sea World. You also may try to find a way to justify this bullying, perhaps drawing on the “wusification” of America or the old-standby of how you must defend against “lefties” ramming political-correctness down everyone’s throats.
Instead, you should be embarrassed and apologize to Zach on behalf of your station and advertisers who I know value family and basic decency.
Until then you are condoning the punk behavior of a grown man using your airwaves to publicly bully a child.
For the record, I am the one that asked this issue to be put on the June PUSD agenda via a letter that is public record. Our son Evan’s entire second grade class had a scheduled Sea World trip, he refused to go based on moral grounds, my wife and I supported him for standing up for what he believes in, and I felt like the District could benefit by clarifying its field trip policies for situations such as this. Many other parents and teachers agreed.
I hope that I am wrong about Mr. Bartholomew and that he does feel some level of shame for how he portrayed Zach and his parents. As a leading news station, you have an avenue for much-needed honest discussion about important issues affecting our city. It is painful as a listener to see this opportunity squandered in favor of sinking to the point of publicly bullying a decent kid.
Steve Dow, P.E.
San Diego, CA