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.