by Rita Price -
She couldn’t understand why the disc jockey kept making fun of her, but Kellie Christine Baker knew this much: Something unfair was happening, and it hurt.
Later that night, in her room, “I was bawling and crying,” Baker said. “I felt angry inside my heart.”
The 30-year-old Tuscarawas County woman has Down syndrome. She says she made a mistake on Jan. 21, dialing the number for the “Mo Show” at WDJQ-Q92 Radio instead of the friend she was trying to reach.
But the disc jockey at the station in Alliance in northeastern Ohio didn’t let it go — or quickly tell her she had the wrong number — when Baker asked for her friend by name. He kept her on the phone, mocking her speech and laughing at her. And then, after they finally hung up, he put the exchange on the air.
Baker’s mom, Gigi Standiford, said her daughter was devastated.
“She called me frantically upset, saying, ‘Mom, I accidentally called the radio show,’??” Standiford said yesterday. “She said, ‘He made fun of me. He hurt my feelings. I have feelings, too.’??”
Baker wants an in-person apology from the disc jockey, listed only as “Mo” on the station’s website. In the meantime, she and her family say they are heartened by the support that began pouring in after Baker’s brother posted an account of the experience atkelliesstory.wordpress.com.
“He put that up at 1 yesterday afternoon,” Standiford said. “By 7, there were more than 7,000 shares on it.”
Baker’s sister Kara Ball said the family has received messages and comments from as far away as Australia. “Social media is amazing,” she said.
In a statement yesterday, a Q92 representative said the station wants to work with Baker’s family and local advocates for people with developmental disabilities to raise awareness.
“Specifically, the station wishes to sincerely apologize again for any actions or comments that could be construed as making light of the challenges faced by persons that are developmentally disabled or casting those persons in any humorous light.”
In a recording of the radio program, Baker’s frustration is apparent, and she can be heard trying to politely get off the phone with the disc jockey.
“No, say it real slowly,” Mo tells her in asking her to repeat her friend’s name. “I want to figure this out. It’s a little game.”
Later, he asks Baker whether she knows who he is.
[Via The Columbus Dispatch]