“The Ricky Smiley Morning Show” was canceled for a day after the famed host made a joke about a co-worker’s shoes.
Smiley joked on air that a man had been wearing blue or black alligator shoes when he visited the restroom Wednesday, March 7, which he noticed because he always checks to see if a stall is occupied before using the urinal. The shoes, which didn’t appear when Smiley initially looked, reappeared resulting in the host deciding to wait until he got home to use the restroom.
What he didn’t wait to do, however, was crack jokes about the footwear back in the studio. He even recruited his executive producer to go search for the shoes and take photographic evidence. She took it a step further by posting her hunt on Facebook Live.
The discussion led the internet to launch the hashtag, #doodooshoes. The name is also how HR said the person was referred to all day.
And the offended employee didn’t take it well.
He went to human resources after the program’s personalities made fun of him and on Thursday, March 8, Smiley had the HR rep on-air to explain the situation.
“You may have offended the person, the person probably will never wear those shoes around the office again,” said HR, who later noted further disciplinary action is being considered, including written notices. “We have to respect everyone’s choices. We probably have violated several EEOC and ACLU labor rules. We have to take matters like this very, very seriously to make everyone feel comfortable in the workplace. … My understanding was that that person’s level of privacy was violated.”
“For someone of your position, Ricky, we definitely expect more,” the rep concluded.
After HR says the program owes the employee an apology, Smiley says they’ll give Jeff a call to do so.
“I didn’t see your face, I didn’t know it was you,” said Smiley, who ultimately did not use the restroom until he got home because he wasn’t going to “sit there and use the bathroom and gag at the same time. “I just made a joke about the shoes and if we caused you any type of … whatever you went through yesterday or whatever, we wanna apologize.”
Jeff said he was surprised someone came into the restroom that early and that he noticed someone had walked into the restroom who looked like Smiley. Then, the employee said he held meetings throughout the day, all while noticing folks were paying attention to his shoes.
“This the stuff I thought I left behind, folks just mocking my shoes when I was in grammar school,” he says as the show plays sad piano music in the background. “That just gave me a complex, you know the kids looking at my shoes. … I could hear the snickers. I’m supposed to be in a position where people are looking up to me and they looking down at my shoes.”
“But you know, hey, Rick, I accept your apology,” Jeff adds before seeming to start crying. “I appreciate you calling this morning. I just wanna move forward at this point.”
Yet after the apology, HR called back and tore into the hosts.
“I’ve been listening and I heard the apology and it was not sincere. Not sincere at all,” the rep said, referring to laughing in the background. “Unfortunately, I have to take further disciplinary actions because your response to the situation is not adequate enough.”
The staff was called to the office for an immediate meeting and got kicked off the air for the day.
By Friday, however, the show was back on with guest Tory Lanez.