Here we go again, folks.
For just the second time in a week, a veteran sports radio host has taken an ugly shot at women.
Like Bruce Jacobs, Mark Madden has a track record of divisive comments, in one case resulting in his being fired from a radio station.
But unlike Jacobs’ on-air shot at lesbians (and the gay community, for that matter) in mocking the WNBA, by incorporating gay slurs into reconfigured “team names,” Madden’s offense was off-air – but it was aimed at all women in general.
On Tuesday afternoon, a woman named Lacey Brunell who represents ThePensBlog.com had expressed her hate for Tim Benz, who hosts the morning show on WXDX-FM “105.9 The X” in Pittsburgh. The radio station not only carries Penguins hockey play-by-play, but they also have a 24/7 broadcast called “Penguins Radio,” available on WXDX’s HD Radio HD-2 subchannel.
When Madden, who hosts afternoons on WXDX, got wind of Lacey’s remark, he responded to her via Twitter, under his handle @MarkMaddenX. What ensued for about an hour was a back-and-forth between Madden and Lacey, using the handle @ZbynekGirl. Unfortunately, we only have one side of the conversation because, in an unforeseen turn of events, Lacey, for reasons unknown, deleted her Twitter account. So all that is available are Madden’s tweets to the now-defunct @ZbynekGirl account from Tuesday, including one in which he claimed she “[swore] like a longshoreman and babble[d] like a maniac”, and another where he dared Lacey to “call my bosses… get me fired or suspended.” Though one source reports that Lacey had referred to Madden as a “fat f**k”, and in another tweet, had told Madden that his “life is one big pathetic excuse.”
Regardless, Madden – like Jacobs exactly one week before him on his “104.5 The Team” radio show in Albany – crossed a line. It came when he addressed the following in a response to Lacey: “Look, you’re a girl, so… you know nothing, and your opinion is useless. Get in the kitchen, have a kid, dance ’round a pole, something.”
Madden deleted the tweet within seconds – but not before screenprints of the tweet ended up being forever recorded in Internet lore, via websites such as ThePensBlog.com and others.
Meanwhile, at around the time the “dance ’round a pole” tweet was struck from the record, Madden had written two additional tweets directed toward Lacey that were also degrading to women – and remain on the @MarkMaddenX Twitter account at press time. “You don’t matter,” one tweet partly reads, followed by the hashtag “#GetInTheKitchen.” That was followed ten minutes later by this gem: “Well, I haven’t been pulled off the air yet. You must not be as influential as you thought,” which is punctuated by the hashtag “#BarefootAndPregnant.”
But wait, there’s more. Dennis Lamme, market manager of Clear Channel Pittsburgh, calls Madden’s social networking repartee “unacceptable… completely inappropriate and out of line.” Lamme added that “appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that this does not happen again.”
“Appropriate measures” – like what, cut off one of his fingers?
Now, if Lacey did have an ax to grind with Mark Madden, then perhaps it is only fair for Madden to grind back at her – but her only. That should not be an opportunity to use her as a model for stereotypes. Once you start telling a woman things that (in his mind) the average woman should be doing, that opens it up to every single female of the human race, and not just the one you’re arguing with – and not even face-to-face, for that matter.
Madden did issue a statement and an apology in an email to Jezebel.com. He claims that Lacey “has always been abusive” toward him, and admitted he “got a bit carried away playing my radio character, which is a TV wrestling bad guy.”
Is Madden’s own ego that hideous that he has to resort to playing a “radio character” on the air? Ask The Greaseman how that “radio character” business worked out for him – just don’t mention Lauryn Hill to him, though.
Regarding his misogynistic tweets, Madden wrote: “I owe women in general an apology. Maybe not [Lacey]… I’m not sure I owe an apology to anyone who calls me a fat f**k.”
Certainly, it doesn’t make it right that Lacey addressed Madden as a “fat f**k”. But that shouldn’t give Madden the opportunity to try and “one-up” her. And if this is how a radio host responds to a person using his name in vain on Twitter, you can imagine how he’d deal with someone who cussed him out at a Penguins game.
And to top it all off, this Mark Madden misogyny incident goes down just one week after Bruce Jacobs’ homophobe episode. Not that I’m comparing the two situations, but there’s several parallels to these two individuals. Madden’s employer, Clear Channel, once hired Jacobs at KFYI in Phoenix, and as you read last week, even they could stand his diatribes for so long before giving him the boot.
In May 2008, Madden, then the afternoon host on “1250 ESPN” in Pittsburgh, noted the terminal health condition of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, and said on the air that he had hoped Kennedy “would live long enough to be assassinated.” ESPN at first suspended Madden for that remark, and eventually fired him – but he wasn’t on the sidelines for long: WXDX would pick him up just months later.
In another twist of irony, the radio station in Albany that Bruce Jacobs works for – on which he made those gay-bashing, WNBA-mocking comments – is affiliated with ESPN.
Should Jacobs be sent packing in the Capital Region, one wonders if he’ll suddenly develop an appreciation for pierogis and Sidney Crosby overnight.
By the way, today – December 29 – just happens to be Mark Madden’s 51st birthday. Maybe he’ll finally get a birthday gift that he can use – a brain.
Or maybe he can settle for a new “radio character”?
Happy birthday. Clown.