Toronto radio host out of a job after using racial slur to mock Doug Ford
Longtime AM640 host Mike Stafford is no longer the host of Global News Radio's flagship morning show, as confirmed by the station's parent company, Corus Entertainment, after typing out a racial slur — and not for the first time.
Stafford, who in 2019 tweeted disparaging comments about Muslim and South Asian people but somehow still kept his job, "is no longer with 640 Toronto" as of this week.
Corus was unable to provide further details regarding Stafford's departure, but VICE's Manisha Krishnan has the whole story, and it's a pretty messed up one.
Screenshots sent to VICE World News show Stafford using a highly offensive, racist word when chatting with coworkers using the digital workplace platform Microsoft Teams.
new: Global News radio host Mike Stafford has left the station after using a slur for Pakistani people in a work group chat last week. A source tells me he was fired. Stafford has previously tweeted disparaging remarks about South Asians: https://t.co/P9aEGoF3Ra— 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐚 𝐤𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐧𝐚𝐧 (@ManishaKrishnan) June 10, 2021
"I had $5 at home that he'd slip and call it the P**i variant," reads the comment from Stafford, who later said that it was written in the spirit of dissing Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Ford was once again speaking about border security and the dangers of the Delta variant, or what he called the "Indian variant," of COVID-19 during a press conference when Stafford says he made the comment.
The now-former Global News Radio 640 Toronto told VICE in a text exchange that he thought he was treating the premier and his "pathetic border argument" with disgust.
He admitted that he was aware that the term is used a racial slur, telling the news outlet: "Ford and I grew up in the same era, I only meant to exchange what he was thinking. Which is why it was in quotes."
Stafford also said "no" when VICE asked if he "thought about how the term might impact racialized employees in the channel."
Look up the term, particularly with -bashing afterwards, and you’ll get a sense of the xenophobia that south asians faced in the 60s and 70s.— Zain Chagla (@zchagla) June 11, 2021
Many of us write this off. It’s clearly here and needs to be dealt with. https://t.co/1113X4cpsj
An internal source told VICE that there were more than 100 people in the group chat when Stafford made the offensive remarks, and that he was later fired.
Some listeners started noting his absence earlier this week, and people familiar with Stafford's previous controversies (not to mention all of the internal drama at Corus involving accusations of discrimination and racial tone-deafness) are expressing their lack of surprise.
I've got $5 at home that says this isn't the first time Mike Stafford has used the word "P**i".— Russ Hanneman's Shadow (@TresCommmas) June 10, 2021
Many who've read Krishnan's story seem shocked to learn that Stafford was even still on the air at all after becoming the subject of an internal 2019 investigation at Global for his racist tweets.
This isn't the first time, after all, that he had shown hatred (or at least a lack of respect) for people from South Asia.
"P*ki is insidious. It was first used in London's East End in the 1970s, when P*kibashing described the racist violence there," wrote Toronto lawyer Ranjan Agarwal on Twitter when addressing Stafford's comment.
"To see that word, in the same week we mourn a South Asian family killed by a terrorist, is chilling. Remember, Mike Stafford isn't some uneducated rube from the another generation," continued Afarwal.
"He is a journalist and radio personality that has the ear of Torontonians."
Not anymore he doesn't.
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