NEW YORK - APRIL 01: Host Cipha Sounds appears onstage during Yo! MTV Raps at the MTV Times Square studios on April 1, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
DJ Cipha Sounds faces immediate suspension after he made an on-air joke about Haitian women and HIV last week.
The Hot 97 host, whose real name is Luis Diaz, said Friday that "The reason I'm HIV negative is because I don't mess with Haitian girls,'' sparking a rash of calls for his firing from the city's Haitian community.
Late Tuesday, the station announced a three-part plan to address the fall-out from Diaz's comment, beginning with an immediate, indefinite suspension for the DJ.
Diaz will also be required to undergo sensitivity training focused on the Haitian community, specifically as it relates to the challenges its members have faced in terms of the HIV epidemic. HOT 97 also said it would work with local community leaders to promote awareness of HIV and programs to address the spread of the disease.
The station's announcement comes after a coalition of Haitian community leaders threatened to demonstrate outside the station's headquarters to call for Diaz's immediate dismissal.
The disc jockey, a host on the morning show, "The Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg Show," has since apologized to his listeners, calling the remark "a stupid, tasteless joke.''
A spokesman for the station acknowledged the unfortunate nature of the incident, but said Diaz is committed to learning from his lapse in judgment.
"Cipha made an immediate public apology and recognizes his insensitivity and the negative impact his comments have on all Haitians," said Alex Cameron, SVP/Market Manager of Emmis-New York. It's a very regrettable and unfortunate circumstance for all involved and particularly because we know this is not the nature of this young man who has been an advocate of the Haitian community and a big part of our fundraising efforts for Haiti."
""The Haitian community is an important part of our listenership whom we respect and value. The suspension is an indication of the importance we place on delivering a product that respects our Haitian audience," Cameron added.