One promotion that’s a bit too slap-happy

What would the Subservient Chicken do if told to slap himself twice? I ask because some Web promotions are down right abusive. Take New York FM radio station Hot 97 (please). The station streamed video on its Web site of a “smackfest” contest, pitting two women in each bout who slap each other silly in a bid to win up to $5,000. A DJ served as “referee,” telling the combatants when to let loose with a vicious slap. This has to go down in broadcasting history as one of the more novel ways to serve the public interest, which is what broadcast stations are licensed to do by the FCC. In at least one bout, blood was drawn, at which point the “referee” was heard saying, “We’ve got mouth blood here,” and then let the slapfest continue. Thankfully, the New York attorney general yesterday handed down a fine of $240,000 to the station for violating state contact-sports regulations by not being licensed. The station admitted that the promo wasn’t its “finest hour” but felt compelled to note that the contestants participated “voluntarily.” The Subservient Chicken is a lot brighter than the promo-misogynists at Hot 97. When I told him to “slap yourself twice, please,” he walked forward, bent down at the webcam and shook his feathered fist at me. Good for you, SC. You don’t have to take that guff from anyone!

—Posted by Steve McClellan