Judge: Clear Channel can fire DJ for explicit on-air comments

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Judge: Clear Channel can fire DJ for explicit on-air comments

Thu Sep 03, 2009 @ 10:25AM PST

By Eriq Gardner


28radio.190 A federal judge in New York has dismissed a lawsuit brought by shock jock DJ Star against Clear Channel for violating an employment agreement by terminating him for racy on-air comments.

DJ Star, whose real name is Troi Torain, sued the entertainment conglom after he was fired from the Power 105 radio station in 2006 for suggesting he wanted to sexually abuse the young daughter of a rival DJ on a competing station. The comment drew strong reaction, including from a New York city councilman who called the shock jock a "sick racist pedophile" (Star later sued him for defamation) and the FCC, which investigated the matter.

The employment agreement ran to March, 2007, but Clear Channel insisted it had proper cause under the contract to terminate DJ Star's services early for "utter(ing) obscene, indecent or profane program content" and for making an act that threatened recourse from the FCC.

DJ Star argued he was hired with an understanding that he'd push the boundaries and that his comments weren't unusual. But in his decision, Judge Peter Leisure says it was Star's responsibility to ensure his contract had broader protections and that the employment agreement "unambiguously provide(s) Clear Channel with the authority to terminate Torain."

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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