Ohio's DJ Mo has been suspended after mocking a caller with Down Syndrome who accidentally dialed the wrong number. Kellie Baker, 30, wound up on the air after trying to call a friend and was left humiliated by DJ Mo.
"I talk to Kelly Ann Burkhart," Baker said when Mo asked who she was, according to a transcript provided by the New York Daily News.
"You what?" Mo responded.
"Okay. I want to talk to your daughter, Kelly Ann Burkhart," Baker explained.
"Eh, Uh… I don't want to come across – obviously you have some sort of a speech impediment," Mo said.
"Uh, no, this is my voice," Baker replied. She then tried to end the phone call since she was not being allowed to speak with her friend. DJ Mo, though, seized on the moment and managed to keep her on the line for a while longer.
"Hey, I can't… I can't understand you. Again, I can't be the first person to have told you that it's tough to understand you," the DJ said.
"Alright, never mind," Baker conceded.
"Alright?" Mo asked.
"I'll see ya later, okay. Bye," Baker said.
"Ok – say it real slowly," Mo responded.
"Never mind, never mind," Baker said.
"No, say it real slowly. I want to try to figure this out. It's a little game," Mo said before Baker finally hung up the phone.
Baker then called her mom in tears and explained what had happened with Mo, much to her mother's horror.
"She told my mom, 'I'm a 30-year-old woman. I have feelings too, and I hurt, too. Why would he make fun of me?'" Baker's sister Kara Ball told The New York Daily News. "He knows that she dialed the wrong number. This never needed to be aired, period."
Instead of suing DJ Mo or the radio station, Ball said that the family wants to use the ordeal as a way of spreading awareness of Down Syndrome and how to simply treat others with kindness.
"You may have an opportunity to say something hilarious at the expense of someone else, but you can change how you react," Ball said. Her sister merely wants an apology from the DJ.
"At the time of the call, I honestly believed it was a prank," DJ Mo said in a statement released by Q92, his radio station. "However, that doesn't excuse what happened or what I did. I take full responsibility. I am truly sorry and I hope I can earn your trust back."
Radio DJs have come under fire ever since two DJs in Australia caused international furor by pretending to be Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth and gaining personal information about Duchess Kate Middleton. A nurse who answered the call later committed suicide, in part due to the shame she felt about giving out the information.
"Beginning today, I will take a suspension and be off the air," Mo added. "The station and I are committed to raising awareness in any way we can in an effort to make this right with the family, and to any and all who have, or know someone with, developmental disabilities."
The radio station is set to launch a new campaign in March that will focus on the "abilities, strengths, and talents of people who are developmentally disabled," according to NewsNet5.com.