Woman With Down Syndrome Mocked by DJ on Air After She Mistakenly Dials Radio Station

on airKellie Baker, a 30-year-old woman with Down's syndrome, was trying to call her friend, Kelly Ann Burkhart, but dialed "The Mo Show," a program on a Canton, Ohio radio station, Q92, by mistake. The phone call took an odd and unsettling turn when "DJ Mo" started making fun of the way Kellie spoke.

"Eh, Uh ... I don’t want to come across -- obviously you have some sort of a speech impediment," Mo told Kellie. To which she replied, "Uh … no, this my voice." Realizing what was going on, Kellie tried to get off the phone, but Mo stopped her. And then things got much, much worse.

Here's a snippet of their conversation:

DJ Mo: Hey, I can’t -- I, I, I -- listen -- I can’t understand you. Again I can’t be the first person to have told you that it’s tough to understand you.

Kellie: All right, never mind.

DJ Mo: All right?

Kellie: I’ll see ya later ok, bye.

DJ Mo: K -- say it real slowly.

Kellie: Never mind, never mind.

DJ Mo: No, say it real slowly. I want to try to figure this out. It’s a little game.

Wow.

According to Kellie's sister, Kara Ball, after she hung up, she frantically called her mother crying. "She told my mom, 'I’m a 30-year-old woman, I have feelings too, and I hurt, too," Ball said. "Why would he make fun of me?'"

After the incident, DJ Mo was suspended -- still is. At first, Kellie's family was completely outraged and wanted him fired, but after several family conversations, they decided that they just want a face-to-face apology from him; and they want to use this opportunity to spread awareness on how to treat people with disabilities. DJ Mo has issued an apology to Kellie and says that he thought the phone call was a prank.

Be that as it may, radio stations typically pre-screen calls before putting them straight to air. You don't just dial up a radio station and quickly get connected to the DJ of your choice. I'm not quite sure how this phone call made it to air -- or why it went on so long. And this doesn't even sound like a prank phone call; it sounds like Baker dialed the wrong number and was looking for a girl named Kelly.

I hope that Kellie and her family get what they're looking for out of this terrible situation. If it were me, I'm not sure I'd be so forgiving. Everyone always seems really sorry when their jobs are in jeopardy.

What do you think of this?

 

Image via curtis.kennington/Flickr

31 Comments

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nonmember avatar Shawn

That DJ is an A**.. Is this what passes for humor these days? Making fun of someone who was born with a disability and can't help the way they speak? Talk about lowest common denominator - let's just hope he never procreates.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

It's not his fault. Some people with down syndrome are hard to understand. I can see why he thought it was a prank. I'm sure that if he knew that she mentally retarded he wouldn't have acted that way. Remove the suspension!

nonmember avatar Lexi jordan

I agree @pinkmani - how was he suppose to know? If calls are screened he could have thought it was a coworker trying to mess with him. Sounds like it's just an unfortunate circumstance.I'd be shocked if the family didn't forgive him-it's definitely not his fault!

proud... proudmomma6804

I live in that area and most people around here are of the opinion that its being blown way out of proportion. Mo tends to mock/make fun of everyone. While I feel bad for her since she didn't mean to call in I have to say he had no way of knowing she had downs and was just doing what he normally does...so I don't think he should be suspended for doing what he always does just because he made a mistake.

Irela... Ireland69

Mentally challenged you mean??

nonmember avatar Cee

I am shocked with some of the comments. Yes he could not know that she had Down Syndrome, but she had a speech impediment, which is also a disability so he doesn't get a free pass here. He made fun of someone's physical and mental incapacity and lacked the compassion to just hang up.
Also, Pink, dont use the R word. It is the worst, especially when a mother says it as you could have easily had a mentally challenged child as any other mother.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

No, Ireland69, I don't mean mentally challenged. The term mentally challenged is the politically correct term. Mentally retarded is the medical term. 

bills... billsfan1104

What was he suppose to do? Ask her her if she had Down syndrome?

nonmember avatar A Friend of Mo'

I too dialed in to Mo when he worked in Lousivlle KY, and we quickly became good friends. He is a wonderful person and would never do that intentionally. Being suspended and issuing the apology is enough. The lady could have simply hung up instead of staying on.. she didn't HAVE to stay talking to him. Yes, it was wrong, but he is pranked like that all the time and I do know that his apology is truly sincere.
KEEP ON ROCKING MO!!!!

Aeris... AerisKate

Okay, so what if he makes fun of everyone in the same manner on his show?  What is wrong with society today that making fun of others (whether or not they have a disability) is accepted as funny and a form of entertainment? 

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