Sports radio host Michael Sorce, who goes by the name Don Geronimo on air, was fired by WBIG-FM on Sunday following his sexist remarks directed at a female reporter during coverage of the Washington Commanders training camp.
Sports Radio Host Don Geronimo Fired After Calling Female Reporter 'Barbie Girl' And 'Chick'
A radio host in Virginia has been dismissed following his on-air reference to a female sports journalist as 'Barbie girl' and his admission of confusing her with a cheerleader during a live broadcast.
Don Geronimo, an employee at WBIG, lost his job due to his use of the term 'chick' when talking about Emmy-winning reporter Sharla McBride on the air. “I'm guessing she's a cheerleader.”
While Geronimo was live on air, McBride was providing coverage from the Washington Commanders training camp.
In the course of the broadcast, Geronimo's on-air remarks occurred when he noticed McBride, stating, Hey look, Barbie's here. Hi, Barbie girl. I'm guessing she's a cheerleader.”
Subsequently, during the broadcast, he once more spotted McBride, who was engaged in conducting interviews at the training camp, and commented, “Oh hey. There's that chick that you thought... I think. I think she's a sportscaster at Channel 9. Or Channel 7.”
He added: 'I thought she was a cheerleader.”
As a reaction, the Commanders prevented iHeartMedia from conducting broadcasts on the premises due to the 'sexually disparaging remarks'.
Subsequently, McBride turned to social media to express that she has been deeply touched by the outpouring of support she received in the aftermath of the incident.
“I'm humbled and overwhelmed by the amazing support I've received from my fellow journalists in the past 24 hours,” she wrote on social media.
Aaron Hyland, the President of iHeartMedia's Washington DC Region, stated, “After an internal review, Don Geronimo is no longer an employee of WBIG. We take matters of this nature very seriously and this behavior does not align with our core values.”
Upon learning of Geronimo's dismissal, McBride announced her intention to take a few days off to process the events that have unfolded in the past 48 hours.
“When I heard the comments made about me on the radio show, I felt incredibly insulted and embarrassed,” McBride told ESPN in a statement. “In my 17 years as a professional journalist, I have never been disrespected in such a blatant manner while trying to do my job. Their words were sexist and misogynistic. No woman should experience this in the workplace, and I appreciate the Commanders swift response in handling this matter.”
In a statement, a Commanders’ spokesperson said: "We have worked hard to ensure that everyone feels safe and respected in our workplace, and we took swift action when we learned that an employee of our partner iHeart made sexually disparaging remarks to and about a member of the media while she was broadcasting live from training camp yesterday.”
“iHeart and the individual were not permitted to broadcast from Training Camp today, and we will continue to work collaboratively with iHeart to address the issue and trust that iHeart will take appropriate action as it works through an internal investigation.”
WUSA9 General Manager Richard Dyer said: “Objectifying women is harmful and disrespectful. We’ve heard from the Washington Commanders that they are addressing this situation directly with iHeartRadio.
"Promoting respect, empathy and equal treatment for all individuals, regardless of gender, is crucial for building respect in any workplace.”