*On Friday, Keith Washington, the Detroit singer and radio show host, found himself in a firestorm that resulted from his conversation with an ailing Aretha Franklin being broadcast over the internet.
Washington, via Interactive One, the online component of Radio One, the company that owns the Detroit radio station that he works for, is speaking out to defend himself against accusations that he violated Aretha’s privacy by putting video of his conversation with her online:
Aretha Franklin has been a dear friend and colleague for over 20 years. We’ve toured together, prayed together, and laughed together.
For the past six weeks, I have been hosting Kisses After Dark on Kiss 105.9 in Detroit. In addition to being heard on the radio, a big part of the job is social networking and live video streaming. When I am not talking on the air I am working the phones with listeners and friends. The live video stream is on during my entire radio show.
On November 8, while on a break from the on-air broadcast, I called Aretha Franklin because it had just come to my attention she had to cancel her tour plans for the next six months due to health issues. Since Aretha’s been sick, I’ve been heartsick.
Our conversation was captured on the live video stream as are others but I was not aware her end of the conversation was audible to the microphone.
At no time was our conversation aired or broadcast on the radio – like many blogs and even reputable news organizations have claimed.
It is regrettable that anybody would characterize this as unethical when she is a dear friend. All I can say is that I’ve been talking about Aretha to my fans for years and me sharing my feelings about her with my audience was nothing unusual for me. I love her and her family dearly.
I am troubled by how the video has been received – not for myself, but for any pain it caused my friend.
I would never consciously do anything to hurt her or invade Aretha Franklin’s privacy. Both Radio One and I regret any distress this has caused to Aretha Franklin, her family or the public.
After watching the video below of Washington’s phone call with Aretha Franklin, who did not she was being taped, let us know what you think of his statement.