Two broadcasters from Houlton, Maine, are now without a job after openly mocking several high school basketball players about their weight and body type.
In mid-January, while broadcasters Jim Carter and Steve Shaw were calling a girls' junior varsity basketball game for local radio station WHOU, they made comments that incensed listeners and inspired hundreds of angry social media posts.
“Two girls out here, extremely overweight,” one of the men was overheard saying in a 34-second clip that was later posted to social media. “Awful.”
“How come you don’t get uniforms that fit the girls?” the other broadcaster said, followed by laughter.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Shaw is a former athletic director and Carter is a former coach. They didn't realize their microphones were on when they made the comments.
As soon as station owner Fred Grant was made aware of the incident, he immediately fired both Carter and Shaw. He apologized to the community in a Facebook post the next day.
In the post, Grant emphasized that the students, who are living through a pandemic, deserve respect.
In all the events we cover, every single one of our students gets better, they learn and they grow. Every day they face the challenges of their situation, whether it be on the court, at home or at school, but the important part is that they keep going. All of our students deserve our respect. Our students are living through the most challenging times in our history. Not only are they struggling through a pandemic, they also have the challenges of living in an age of social media which many of us would say that’s even worse than the pandemic
Grant also urged everyone who posted the clip online to take it down in an effort to try to "shift the focus" back to the students, to uplift them and concentrate on the "excellence we see from our students every day."
Neither Carter or Shaw would comment to the Post about their termination, but the Portland Press Herald did speak briefly with Carter, who said he'd apologized to the school and the superintendent.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Carter said. “Hopefully everybody can get through this and be OK.”