NY radio station fined $240k for female 'Smackfest'

Slaps win prizes

NY radio station WQHT Hot 97 has been fined a whopping $240,000 (£134,480) for running an on-air contest where young women were encouraged to slap each other silly to win cash and other prizes.

The "Smackfest" entertainment initiative - which ran from April 2004 to January 2005, attracted the attention of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the Athletic Commission because of a "a potential violation of state law on promotion of a combative sport", the BBC reports. Slap-happy females went at it with gusto in return for concert tickets or up to $5k.

For its trouble, WQHT Hot 97 now has to stump up $240k - part of which will go to a "domestic violence awareness charity". A suitably pleased Spitzer declared: "The law establishes set boundaries that cannot be crossed to protect our community's health and safety," further announcing: "This agreement should be a wake-up call to all those in the entertainment industry who think outrageousness is a clever marketing strategy."

Quite right too. Perhaps Mr Spitzer might like to turn his Matthew Hopkinsesque attentions to the UK's Big Brother - where Channel 4 encourages the socially inadequate to take off their clothes and simulate sex with plastic inflatable animals - or indeed he could take the time to watch CBS News which commonly airs footage of Sunni insurgents blowing themselves up in an attempt to win VIP passes to paradise. We are likewise reminded of the sickening - and often televised - public spectacle of grown men punching each other into comas purely for financial gain. Let's face it, "outrageous" doesn't even begin to describe biting off Evander Holyfield's ear.

As for the suitably-ashamed WQHT Hot 97, a spokesperson for owner Emmis Radio noted the contestants were all volunteers but conceded: "It was not our finest hour, and New York City deserves better."

Nah. Young women slapping themselves to win cash is exactly what New York deserves, and quite possibly needs. ®

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