The big fat joke
A Virgin Radio DJ has learned the hard way that religious-jokes don’t go down well in the UAE
October 26, 2008 12:35 by kippreport
Revin John, A Dubai-based, Virgin Radio DJ was fired last week for making an offensive joke on-air. The South African DJ, who moved to Dubai in the summer, was fired for ‘mocking religion and impersonating God’ on air, according to an official statement released by the Arabian Radio Network, the umbrella company.
The radio station received numerous complaints from listeners who were offended by the DJ’s comments. One caller, Mariam Zarouni, a chemical engineering student at the American University of Sharjah, called the group soon after hearing the joke broadcast: “When somebody crosses the line, then you have to defend your religion,” she said in an interview with Gulf News. “Honestly… how can he do this? We’re in a Muslim country. But even Christians would take offense to that. You can’t insult God.”
Obviously, what the DJ interprets as being insulting to God varies from the local interpretation. If Revin had known the offense his comments would have caused, it is unlikely he would have said them. Clearly, he lacks the local perspective, which, being a DJ in Dubai, should have been mandatory before being been allowed on air.
In fact, John’s dismissal raises an important issue: Rather than firing the DJ for not knowing any better (although judging by the joke, which Kipp will not repeat, he really should have), why not reprimand the host company, which bears the ultimate responsibility for educating its foreign recruits?
The bottom line is that Virgin Radio hired a DJ who doesn’t have local knowledge. The issue of accountability, however, has been overshadowed by the severity of the DJ’s blunder.