AAJA Portland Chapter calls on KXL to apologize for offensive billboard

Addendum below: Station responds to call for apology

To: Scott Mahalick, KXL Program Director
and Kelsey McDaniel, Marketing and Promotions Director

It took some public outrage for KXL to come to its senses, and we at the Portland Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association are relieved that the news station’s offensive billboard is coming down.

The billboard’s message – “We love you long time” – was especially insensitive given its placement in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood. The billboard was inexcusable, no matter the placement, in a state and city with a growing Asian American population.

Randi P’Pool, the director of marketing for KXL’s parent company, told KOIN that the sign would get attention. Yes, it did, and we commend other local news media for covering the story and shedding light on why Asian Americans in particular objected to the sign.

The station’s marketing department said it pulled the line from an old rap song. The fact that the words are drawn from a song (and date back to a line in the Vietnam War movie “Full Metal Jacket”) doesn’t justify the station’s use of the demeaning phrase.

P’Pool said no disrespect was intended, but we’d like the station to go one step more and issue a formal apology to the public it’s supposed to serve. We also request that KXL specify publicly what internal measures it intends to institute to avoid such racially insensitive and hurtful marketing efforts in the future.

Sincerely,

Peter Wong, Portland Chapter President
Asian American Journalists Association

Bobby Caina Calvan, AAJA MediaWatch Chair

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The Portland Chapter received the following reply from KXL’s program director, Scott Mahalick:

“The station has publicly apologized now many times. All involved will go thru sensitivity training to prevent any future issues.”