Did a TV Host Threaten to Sexually Torture a Teen? Not If You Get Hyperbole April 10, 2018

Did a TV Host Threaten to Sexually Torture a Teen? Not If You Get Hyperbole

Until yesterday, Jamie Allman, a fire-breathing media personality in St. Louis, had two jobs — he hosted a radio program on KFTK-FM and a TV show on Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate KDNL-TV. Allman had to give up both after a recent tweet caused a firestorm:

When we kick their ass they all like to claim we’re drunk. I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow. Busy working. Preparing.

Hogg, of course, is the 17-year-old survivor of the Parkland shooting in Florida who went on to become a prominent voice for gun control.

Allman soon switched his Twitter account to private and deleted his intemperate March 26 tweet, but not before others screen-captured it and used it to organize an advertiser boycott.

One Allman opponent, Missouri State Rep. Stacey Newman, composed an irate Facebook post and a series of tweets late last week, listing advertisers on Allman’s show and wondering why they supported him. Since then,

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Gellman Team real estate group and PALM Health all posted messages on their Twitter accounts saying they have pulled advertising from Allman’s show.

According to Mediaite, most of Allman’s advertisers have actually stuck with him, but it wasn’t enough to save his two media gigs.

For the record, and if it matters, I think that Allman’s remark, directed at a teenager, was unpleasant enough that I personally have few fucks to give about his detractors going after his jobs. He can’t broadcast in a vacuum, and actions (and words) often have consequences. No big whoop. I’m mostly content to let the marketplace of ideas sort out what is and isn’t acceptable.

What I dislike, however, is that many of Allman’s critics, media types included, insisted that he wrote he wanted to commit sexual assault on Hogg. To me, that comes across as willfully obtuse. (The same is even true for the word threatening, used to describe Allman’s tweet in a New York Times headline. There was no actual threat, much less an actionable one.)

If I say that Donald Trump deserves a poker up the ass, it doesn’t mean that I want to see the president sexually violated and tortured; I’m only employing a bit of (not uncommon) hyperbole. I probably won’t find Secret Service agents at my door as a result.

In my native tongue, Dutch, we sometimes talk about “iemand een kopje kleiner maken.” The speaker is literally saying he wants to “make someone a head shorter,” a reference to decapitation. In reality, every Dutch person understands that the phrase is merely intended as a declaration to deal decisively — but not murderously — with an opponent.

Muscular expressions are often like that in any language, as far as I can tell. They’re meant to convey something considerably less dire than their literal meaning. “Cut-throat competition” doesn’t imply the actual severing of jugulars. If I say “Allman can die a thousand deaths for all I care,” that doesn’t mean that I actually wish death on him even once, let alone a thousand times. In the same vein, “Jamie Allman can shove it up his ass” is not a literal invitation for the man to do something penetrative to his nether region. Et cetera.

The likely truth is that almost everyone understands this — but that, in this case, many like to pretend not to in an effort to amp up the outrage.


P.S.: Allman, who was raised Episcopalian, converted to Catholicism in the year 2000, and divorced his wife two weeks later. He’s a piece of work for sure:

When the family home was sold and the sale price didn’t cover the outstanding mortgage, the divorce decree stipulated that Jamie and Lisanne split the debt of approximately $34,000. But Lisanne, who made about $35,000 a year working for a credit union, compared with Allman’s $81,000-per-year income, couldn’t come up with her half. Allman got a judgment against her and garnished her bank accounts.

She had to file for bankruptcy.

Of course, in his own mind, Allman is Mr. Pious. When the St. Louis Riverfront Times wanted to know “What would you like to ask God?,” Allman replied

How can I repay You? How can I be of service?”

Apparently, God answered that He would like to see Allman become the handpicked PR flack for Archbishop Raymond Burke, a job he held for a few years before returning to radio and TV work — and to tweeting unrestrained macho bilge at political opponents.

(Top screenshot via YouTube)

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