Show's Over for Teen Who Said Obama Made His Friends Gay
BY Lucas Grindley
June 09 2012 11:43 AM ET
Updated to include compromise with Spreaker.
There's no more show for the teenager who generated an outsized firestorm online by claiming President Obama had turned his friends gay.
The recording service Spreaker has shut down Caiden Cowger's online radio show after deeming it hate speech, but it will let him continue as a user of the site.
"We’re really sorry, but the show The Caiden Cowger Program is not available," a message says instead. "Spreaker has deleted this show due to offensive contents."
This follows after YouTube also appeared to remove the show from its site, although its resurfaced elsewhere on the site and opponents have started a red-flagging campaign.
“While we not only support free speech, we help it find its way to more people faster and easier with our service that is the audio equivalent of YouTube, but like them, we cannot and will not condone hate speech," said Spreaker CEO Francesco Baschieri in a statement. "Consequently, we have pulled down audio content from Caiden Cowgar, whose recent gay-bashing clearly crosses the line from free — to hate — speech.”
The statement was sent to media and to Rhonda Magnus, the woman responsible for leading an effort to boot Cowger from Spreaker. Magnus is fighting in court because she says her gay son was being bullied in Niagara County schools in New York. Magnus pointed out that the Spreaker terms of service ban any speech encouraging discrimination.
The Spreaker CEO later clarified that, "we will further investigate" and access some old episodes could be restored. Also, because Spreaker has not blocked Cowger's user account, he was able to post a more than 10-minute response Saturday, pledging "I don't hate anyone" and that he wouldn't quit broadcasting. Cowger used the hate-the-sinner-not-the-sin defense, and said he'd been the victim of 1,000 death threats.
A Facebook page for "The Caiden Cowger Program" remains up, and Magnus is calling on it to also be removed. An opposition page called "Stop Caidan Cowgers Hate Speech" has popped up.
Cowger has been defended by CNN contributor Dana Loesch, who has a radio show called The Dana Show. Loesch at first said on Twitter that Cowger was just being "a conservative teen" and deserved praise for "civic participation." But then Loesch clarified that she not only hadn't listen to what Cowger said but also didn't necessarily agree with him. Instead, she claims it's Cowger who is the victim of bullying.