For Pete's Sake

Radio employees in Iowa fired for comments about a team’s ‘Español people’

Two radio employees in Forest City, Iowa, were fired on Monday because inappropriate comments about an opposing team’s Hispanic players were heard on a feed on the school’s website.

Before Forest City’s game against Eagle Grove, two people could be heard talking about “Español people.” KIMT news identified the people as Orin Harris, a longtime broadcaster of Forest City athletics, and board operator, Holly Jane Kusserow-Smidt.

Kusserow-Smidt works as a third grade teacher at Forest City Elementary School, KIMT reported, and she has been placed on administrative leave.

In the video, Harris says, “They have a lot of apparently...”

“Español people,” Kusserow-Smidt interjects.

Harris responds: “Español people in Eagle Grove.”

Kusserow-Smidt later says, “But the latest there is that they’re just going to gradually come into town. Yeah right.”

A bit later, Harris calls all the players “foreigners,” and says “As Trump would say, go back where they came from.”

“Well, some would say that, yeah, some days I feel like that too,” Kusserow-Smidt replies.

Here is the audio of that interaction:

KIOW released a statement on its Facebook page announcing the firings.

“That night when we learned of these comments, we were in contact with the Eagle Grove School District and gathered information about the incident. On Thursday morning, November 30, a letter of apology was sent to school officials, along with details of our actions in regards to the two employees involved.

“As a result, both employees have been fired from their positions with the station.

“KIOW Radio has a long history of promoting and supporting student athletes, coaches and schools. As a company, we take great pride in spotlighting the great efforts of our local citizens, schools and communities, and we will demand that all company employees adhere to this policy.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff