February 22, 2010

Judge Rules Against Rickey Smiley and Radio One

OK, wasn't Rickey just making a joke? But in Texas, calling someone homosexual imputes the crime of sodomy "...Oh."

Syndicated radio host Rickey Smiley may have defamed an airport security guard by calling him gay on his show, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor refused to dismiss the guard's defamation claims against the Dallas radio personality reports Courthouse News Service. He claims Smiley made the remark at the airport, and again on the air, after the guard asked to take a photo of himself with Smiley at Love Field.

Not long after, Smiley spoke of the "the gay security guard" at Dallas Love Field Airport on his show airing on local affiliate Rhythmic CHR KBFB-FM (97.9 The Beat)/Dallas. According to the ruling, the broadcast included a poem, off-color humor about conducting personal searches, and an admonition to 'Henry' to stop taking pictures.

Rickey Smiley and Radio One, owner of KBFB moved to dismiss the defamation claim, saying the show was not defamatory because it was satire and could not be taken as fact. Judge O'Connor disagreed with the satire argument, ruling that a reasonable person could take Smiley's comments at face value and assume Robinson was gay."

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