A longtime Boston radio host abruptly walked off his Matty in the Morning show on Wednesday after he was told to stop joking about Demi Lovato‘s announcement that they are non-binary.
Matty Siegel, 71, appeared to rage-quit on the air during his popular KISS 108 show Wednesday morning, citing an order from management to leave the Lovato story alone.
“I am the biggest of all time, and they said, ‘Shut up Matt! Stop talking,'” Siegel said on-air. “Well, I hope you’re happy because I just stopped talking.”
He then offered a quick goodbye and went off the air. “Matty out,” he said.
Siegel’s blow-up started with news from Lovato, who announced on Wednesday that they are gender non-binary. That means they do not see themselves in the male or female category, and they will go by the pronouns “they” and “them” going forward.
“I feel that this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression, and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I know I am and am still discovering,” Lovato said in a video and Twitter messages posted in the early hours of Wednesday. “I’m doing this for those out there that haven’t been able to share who they truly are with their loved ones.”
Lovato’s announcement came after several years of battling mental health and addiction issues, including a near-fatal overdose in 2018.
GLAAD, one of the leading LGBTQ2 advocacy groups, hailed Lovato’s announcement as an important moment on Wednesday.
“Demi has always been one of the loudest and proudest advocates for LGBTQ people and issues. In sharing their story today, they will educate countless people around the world and reach other non-binary people with a message of pride,” GLAAD spokesperson Anthony Allen Ramos said in a statement.
Siegel dismissed Lovato’s latest revelation on his show Wednesday.
“It’s a joke, the whole non-binary thing,” he told listeners on the top-40 station. “I don’t care what Demi Lovato does.”
Siegel complained on the air about a call from his boss, and defended his attack on Lovato by citing jokes he’s made about Donald Trump in the past.
“Today I had the exact opposite,” he said. “I was going against the ‘woke thing,’ OK? Against the Demi Lovatos of the world and all that kind of stuff.”
He later told local broadcaster WHDH that he felt like he was being censored but “definitely not muzzled” by management.
“I got a call from my boss to stop talking about it. I got upset. I felt I wasn’t free to be myself after all these years on the air,” he said.
“The bottom line is it’s a comedy show, and I just try to help people have a good laugh on their way to work in the morning.”
Station manager Alan Chartrand did not seem concerned about losing Siegel on Wednesday, amid speculation that the host might actually quit after a four-decade run.
“This isn’t the first time he’s threatened this would be the last show,” Chartrand told the Boston Globe.
Matty was back in on Thursday, following the public back-and-forth with Chartrand in Boston media outlets.
“I did say that I was going to quit,” Siegel said on-air Thursday morning, according to NECN. “The company reached out to me and said, ‘Please don’t. We support you and we will not be stopping you from saying what you want to say.’ So I said, ‘OK.'”
Siegel joked about needing the money in his return to the airwaves Thursday, and cited an “obligation” to his team in continuing the show.
“Sorry to disappoint those of you who are excited that I was leaving, but I’m still here,” Siegel said. “And that’s it. It’s going to be good and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”