KDWB's private meeting to atone for Hmong parody song gets boycotted

Categories: Media beefs
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KDWB apologizes on their own terms, got it?
As a part of their ongoing apology for the "Hmong parody" debacle, KDWB managers are holding a meeting with members of the Hmong community at their offices in St. Louis Park this morning for a "dialog."

However, some of the invitees are refusing to go. They say the meeting's format is, well, a little offensive.

The reason: KDWB insisted that the meeting be private.

"This has to be a community resolution," says Boa Lee, communications chair for Community Action Against Racism. "We are opposed to having any sort of closed meeting."

Back in late March, Dave Ryan in the Morning show host Steve "Steve-O" LaTart sang a bizarre song to the tune of "Tears in Heaven" about Hmong people, including boneheaded lyrics like these: "No room for a couch/'Cause we sleep on the floor/One big group of Vangs/Hmong family of twenty-four."

Once the song was posted on the internet, the Asian American Journalists Association demanded KDWB apologize and TakeAction Minnesota's Hmong Organizing Program called for Steve-O's job. AT&T, Health Partners, and Blue Cross all canceled their ads. The station first released a non-apology apology, then a string of more sincere apology-apologies on the air. In the last one, Ryan alluded to meeting with members of the Hmong community.

The brilliant mind that brought you the Hmong parody song
That meeting is scheduled for today at 10 a.m. Representatives of several community organizations were invited, like TakeAction and the Hmong American Partnership, along with Representatives Rena Moran and Ryan Winkler. According to a KDWB spokeswoman, the list was put together with help from the director of HAP, Bao Vang.

But not everyone who got invited to the party is happy. The problem, say members of TakeAction and CAAR, is that the meeting is private and only one person from each organization is allowed in.

"This meeting is by invitation only," says the letter sent to TakeAction representative Amee Xiong. "We request that no cameras or recording devices be brought to the meeting." Here's the whole invitation.

"We don't want this organization to divide us," says Xiong.

She is refusing to attend, as is anyone from CAAR, which is a multiracial coalition of organizations including TakeAction created after a similar incident in 1998. That time, Tom Barnard got KQRS in hot water for saying a Hmong teenager who allegedly killed her newborn should "assimilate or hit the goddamn road."

CAAR has counter-invited the morning show and KDWB management to a public meeting on the 13th.

"KDWB is the one who aired publicly a song to that was racist," says Lee. "For them to show accountability and respect for the community, they should come to the community."

Rep. Rena Moran
Rep. Moran says she's also decided not to attend in solidarity with CAAR.

"The intent is a good intent, but I do like transparency," she says. "I'm a little disappointed that there's a need to have a closed meeting."

Rep. Winkler, whose district contains KDWB's offices, says he is still planning to go.

"I think it's right to take them to task," he says. "But if KDWB can make amends and move on it's a learning opportunity for everybody."

Stacy Bettison, a spokesperson for KDWB, won't say who was invited to the meeting, but that it includes elected officials and business and community leaders. She also wouldn't say how many people are still attending, just that they're "very pleased" with the response.

"We're disappointed that TakeAction isn't going to come to our meeting," says Bettison. "We're looking forward to having a very productive meeting."

As for whether or not KDWB will be attending the public meeting CAAR is asking for, Bettison says, "There may be no need to have a second meeting. We'll have to determine what the next steps are."

According to a letter sent from CAAR to Clear Channel/KDWB president Michael Crusham, the radio station has until today to RSVP. We'll keep you posted.

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My Voice Nation Help

KDWB needs to step up and grow up. Come to the community and establish a civil dialog. You cause the problem yet you act like the community needs to come to you?


Whether the meeting was an open meeting or private, it's pretty shameful that Rep. Moran and CAAR wouldn't at least go to the meeting if they were invited. And, if other Hmong community members were invited and went then they missed out.

Are you trying to fix/solve the problem or just continue the complaining? I thought KDWB apologized. Like multiple times. It appears they want to do the right thing.

The first poster nailed it, it's like the Middle East.

Phillip Landstrom
Phillip Landstrom

It should be very clear: This is NOT just a "Hmong" issue. The article clearly states that the coalition opposing KDWB is multiracial. I don't blame them for not going. If KDWB caused the issue to begin with and is setting the ENTIRE groundwork for a meeting (meaning KDWB picks who comes) and the meeting is private, there is clearly a flaw in this solution from my understanding. KDWB would have the ability to manipulate the entire situation to their favor. It sounds like all CAAR is asking for is a community meeting with the people that matter the most: those that opposed the song. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

I don't know what KDWB would be afraid of so much that they want this to all be private, no recordings, etc. Sounds to me KDWB is the one being shady, not CAAR...

Steven Martin
Steven Martin

Sounds like both sides are a bunch of babies. Why wouldn't the Hmong community attend this one then KDWB attend the next one?

Sounds like the Middle East.


@ philip landstorm agreed with you 100%. You must be stupid and desperate to attend this private meeting without the whole the community. What game is KDWB trying to play here? Hope no one attend and everyone continues to boycott this station.

Hmong Guest
Hmong Guest

I think the article explains why the Hmong community won't attend this "private" meeting. That was the whole point of the article.


@Av8264...see my post below. KDWB is at least having a meeting or meetings, unlike KQRS-FM which didn't want to deal with their issue with the Hmong community in 1998. If KDWB called a meeting, then go to it. How else are you going to get your voice(s) heard. Then after that, ask KDWB to come to another meeting or what not. One would think that rational people can come together.

And, I would imagine that they didn't invite just one Hmong person

It seems like the CAAR/Take Action group, Rep Moran are impeding the process, not helping it. And, that is shameful.

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