NewsOne has obtained Keith Washington’s official statement on the controversy surrounding the Internet streaming of a private conversation between Washington and his ailing friend, Aretha Franklin, on a Detroit radio station. [EDITORS NOTE: Kiss 105.9 Detroit is owned by NewsOne's parent company, Radio One]
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.