Nov 3, 2023 - Politics

Urban One host levels antisemitic slurs against Richmond casino opponent

In this illustration, an old fashioned metal radio mic is surrounded by giant red exclamation marks.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A host on an Urban One radio station used antisemitic slurs against a leading opponent of the company's proposed Richmond casino.

Driving the news: An anti-casino group posted dozens of controversial clips from Urban One's Richmond stations late Thursday.

What's happening: The remarks on The Box 99.5 by Preston Brown, who was hosting a show as part of the station's programming on the casino, targeted No Means No Casino PAC director Paul Goldman.

  • In clips of the Nov. 1 show, Brown speaks at length describing Goldman as a "Judas," a "Jew who couldn't be trusted" and a "white Jew with the background of Judas."

What they're saying: The statements drew immediate condemnation from both supporters and opponents of the project.

  • "I unequivocally condemn the antisemitic remarks," Mayor Levar Stoney, an ally of Urban One, said in a social media post.

The other side: Urban One, which describes itself as the country's "largest African-American owned multimedia conglomerate," apologized in a statement.

  • "These statements were horrible and offensive," said Urban One regional vice president Marsha Landess, who described Brown as a temporary guest host not employed by the station.
  • "Once we heard the comments and because [Brown] was alone in the studio with his producer, I personally drove to the station and immediately removed him from the show."

Goldman said in a statement that he accepted the company's apology, but was critical of the decision to publicly address the comments until they had been widely shared online.

Of note: Axios was not able to reach Brown for comment.

  • Neither Urban One nor the anti-casino PAC that posted the clips responded to requests for the full, unedited recordings.

Zoom out: The clips also capture Brown mocking Sen. Tim Kaine for opposing the project while his wife, former state Secretary of Education Anne Holton, supports it.

  • "How can we have him representing us as a senator when he can't even keep his own home together," Brown said.

And the clips capture an array of eyebrow-raising remarks by Urban One founder Cathy Hughes on another Urban One station, Praise 104.7, in which she was discussing the casino proposal as part of a call-in show about the project.

  • In one undated clip, she likens the split among Black voters on the casino referendum as between "house n------ and field n------."
  • In another, she laments the cost of the pro-casino campaign, which has risen to $10 million.
  • "OK, such a waste," Hughes says. "I am so mad at this opposition. You know how much good I could have done. I've had to pay lawyers and accountants and lobbyists and make contributions to everybody I thought could influence."

What we're watching: So far, neither Urban One nor Stoney has responded to requests for comment on Hughes' remarks.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include a comment from No Means No Casino PAC director Paul Goldman.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Richmond stories


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more