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Runup to Whitney Houston Funeral Marked by Controversies on Both Coasts

Feb 17, 2012  •  Post A Comment

With attention focused on this weekend’s funeral for pop superstar Whitney Houston, a couple of controversies have flared up — one on each coast — the Los Angeles Times reports.

In Houston’s home state of New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie was defending his decision to lower the flags on state government buildings to half-mast on Saturday, the day of the funeral.

At a news briefing on Thursday, Christie said: "I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise — and we don’t know what is the cause of her death yet — but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she’s forfeited the good things that she did in her life. I just reject that on a human level."

Christie, responding to criticism of the decision, also tweeted on the topic, the story reports, posting: "Flag being lowered for her cultural contributions as an artist & New Jerseyan. Her struggles w/substance abuse r a diff topic."

The story also spotlights a controversy on the opposite coast, in Los Angeles. The Times reports that local talk-radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampiou were suspended by their station, KFI, for what the radio station called “insensitive and inappropriate comments about the late Whitney Houston."

On the KFI website, the station announced: "KFI AM 640 Management does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind," according to the report.

The Times story adds: “The DJs on Wednesday had called Houston a ‘crack ho’ and referred to her as ‘cracked out for 20 years’ — she’d publicly denied smoking crack — with Kobylt saying, ‘Then you find out she’s dead and it’s like, really, it took this long?’”

Kobylt apologized in the station’s statement, according to the report, saying: "We made a mistake, and we accept the station’s decision. We used language that was inappropriate, and we sincerely apologize to our listeners and to the family of Ms. Houston.”

The story adds: “KFI host Tim Conway Jr. also was joking about Houston’s death during his 7-10 p.m. show Wednesday.”

Kobylt and Chiampiou were expected to return to their KFI show Monday, according to media reports.

Houston’s funeral Saturday will be televised, as previously reported.

4 Comments

  1. I’ve been a longtime fan of John and Ken. Their comments are more disappointing than surprising.
    I don’t see the point of apologizing when they meant what they said at the time they said it. Did they really think such comments were going to fly without some sort of negative response? Did they REALLY think they’d get support for making such comments — particularly during the week AFTER Whitney Houston died?
    No one is unaware of her alleged substance abuse problems. Who cares? An iconic singer has died. Someone’s mother has died. Someone’s child has died. I suppose any compassion would be hidden under the bushel of sanctimony.

  2. Terence said it:
    “No one is unaware of her alleged substance abuse problems. Who cares? An iconic singer has died. Someone’s mother has died. Someone’s child has died. I suppose any compassion would be hidden under the bushel of sanctimony.”
    I couldn’t agree more, and a thumbs up to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his statement at a news briefing:
    “I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise — and we don’t know what is the cause of her death yet — but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she’s forfeited the good things that she did in her life. I just reject that on a human level.”
    People need to examine their own contributions,accomplishments and decisions before speaking, and even then, why speak so badly/critically of someone who has passed?
    RIP, Ms. Houston…and thanks for the wonderful memories.

  3. I concur. Regardless of what Whitney Houston became through “alleged” addiction, her contributions as an artist and cultural icon will live on longer than most of us. “The cream rises to the top” and I truly believe that Ms. Houston was on her way back at the time of her demise. Rest in peace.

  4. Well put,I mean did these assholes mention the influence of her music,or the fact that she spawned so many great singers today through her direct influence?Or possibly mention her many contributions to charities worldwide.Ms.Houston was a symbol of class,beauty and poise.An extremely brilliant talent that had a tragic demise.We just lost an icon,these guys are a couple of low rent,b-rated shock jocks that can suck it!

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