Digicel, Flow, Pepsi, KFC, and Red Stripe Pull Advertising from ZIP FM Following Backlash for Interview with Aggressive Protestor

Prominent local radio station ZIP FM has been receiving massive backlash for a light-hearted interview with the aggressive protestor Ramone Silvera. Silvera, who went viral on social media for forcefully demanding passengers to exit a vehicle with a stick during the island-wide strike for traffic ticket amnesty, met with the station for a chit-chat yesterday.

Silvera was widely condemned for his actions in downtown Kingston, and he was arrested and charged with assault at common law, indecent language, and disorderly conduct. Assault charges against Silvera will be heard in court in January. During the friendly interview, he was gifted a bat embellished with a bow, which enraged social media users.

Facing island-wide backlash, ZIP FM released lengthy statements distancing themselves from parts of the interview. The announcement outlined that circulating clips, which were flagged as “not fit for posting,” had been released by someone who accompanied the interviewee without authorisation. The St Ann-based company stated that it “does not support or endorse illegal activities.” While apologising for the “unfortunate incident,” ZIP FM vowed that “remedial action will be taken” and said that unauthorised guest recording would not be allowed inside the studio.

However, companies are also said to be condemning the radio station’s actions, which will result in millions of dollars lost in advertising. The first company to take disciplinary action against the radio station is Digicel, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Jamaica. Digicel released a statement online, deeming ZIP FM’s actions as “unacceptable” and announcing it would be removing all its “advertising from the station for a period of 30 days, starting now.” According to Nationwide News, four more major companies have taken disciplinary actions against the station. Joining with Digicel, Flow, Pepsi, KFC, and Red Stripe have all withdrawn their advertising for 30 days.

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