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WRKO host suspended for calling Turnpike chief a derogatory slur

John DePetro
WRKO suspended talk-show host John DePetro today after he used a derogatory term in referring to Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Chairman Matthew J. Amorello. (John Tlumacki / Globe Staff Photo)

WRKO suspended talk-show host John DePetro today for using a slur for "homosexual" in reference to Turnpike Authority chairman Matthew J. Amorello.

The morning host, who calls himself "The Independent Man," was suspended for two days after using the epithet on the air during a discussion of Amorello's conduct following the ceiling collapse of the I-90 connector. DePetro called Amorello "[expletive] Matt," adding, "I don't mean gay [expletive]. I mean like he's a sissy boy. He's a little sissy boy."

Neither DePetro nor Amorello returned calls late today, but WRKO program director Jason Wolfe said the station has "zero tolerance for racial intolerance... Mr. DePetro has 72 hours to think about this." Wolfe said he purposely chose the word "racial" because "people will lump everything in together."

The conservative talk-show host, who's been on the air at WRKO for three years, made the comment while talking about Amorello's decision to bring his wife, Charlotte, and spokeswoman, Mariellen Burns, to the funeral of Milena Del Valle, the woman who was killed when the ceiling panel collapsed. DePetro said his WRKO colleague Howie Carr calls Amorello "fat Matt" and then said it should "[expletive] Matt."

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