NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A popular disc jockey was under fire Tuesday for making controversial comments on the radio. He said he does not have HIV because “I do not mess with Haitian girls.”
He did apologize, but now, as CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reports, the Haitian community wants more than an apology; they want him to resign.
About 50 leaders, mostly from Haitian organizations, stood outside Hot 97 radio’s studios Tuesday morning to blast morning host “Cipha Sounds” – aka Luis Diaz — for making the statement on the air last Friday. That same statement was repeated verbatim by Brooklyn District Leader Rodneyse Bichotte, the first Haitian-American woman elected to any office in New York City.
“Radio host Cipha Sounds stated, ‘the reason I’m HIV negative is ’cause I do not mess with Haitian girls,’” Bichotte said.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was quick to add his thoughts.
“We are gathered here today to say to Hot 97, Cipha Sounds is guilty of a verbal hate crime,” Stringer announced to the crowd.
Later Friday morning, Cipha Sounds was forced to apologize.
“I made a stupid, tasteless joke that was a one-liner that was taken totally the wrong way. And I want to say sincerely that I apologize,” Sounds said on a YouTube video.
To which Local 1199 organizer John Alexis said: “Your statement, your apology, is not tolerated. It’s not accepted.”
Alexis was one of many speakers who noted that in 1990 tens of thousands of Haitians marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan to protest the Food and Drug Administration saying then that Haitians were a high-risk group for AIDS and should not donate blood. Now, they said, they are being tarnished again. At a time, they said, when Haitians are still recovering from the earthquake and more.
“As a Haitian woman, with a Haitian daughter, with many Haitian nieces and sisters, I say to them — again — hold your head up high!” said Carine Jocelyn of Diaspora Community Services.
Only one of the speakers said Cipha Sounds should be given a reprimand. The other 10 or so all said the radio station should fire him.
Hot 97 released the following statement: “Cipha Sounds will not be fired. He’s a young man who made a mistake. … Both Cipha Sounds and Hot 97 will offer continued support to the Haitian community.”