NewBeetle.org Forums banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Poopship Destroyer
Joined
·
12,736 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'd like you folks to read an article from today's Star Ledger. This policeman is now suspended for something he does in his off-duty time. All because he has an alter-ego as a NOT FOR PAY stand-up comic. This man uses a made-up name to tell jokes that are meant to offend. For crissakes the show was put together by Cringe Humor. Now, this man will most likely get his job back, but they are threatening his pension and a long successful and admirable career. This is a law abiding citizen who is being punished for something done in his personal time where the general public was not privy to it and the only people who heard him perform WANTED to be there and expected offensive material.

I think this man's justice has been tampered with and i'd like to hear other's opinions. Sean Hannity was on the radio this morning discussing and agrees with much of what i said. Hannity only pointed out one missing point, in that it's not clear if he ever signed an agreement when he was hired as to a behavior or way of conducting yourself in your off time.

If this guy's union is worth a damn he will possibly keep his pension, but it's just carp that someone is punished for something that had nothing to do with his on-duty responsibilities.

This is all right to free speech stuff. The man isn't acting out on any of this stuff and is being punished for words spoken to consenting adults.

here's the article:
//configuration OAS_url = 'http://ads.nj.com/RealMedia/ads/'; OAS_sitepage = 'www.nj.com/printer/printer.ssf'; OAS_listpos = 'SponsorRight'; OAS_query = '/base/news-2/1139472859103140.xml&coll=1'; OAS_target = '_top'; //end of configuration OAS_version = 10; OAS_rn = '001234567890'; OAS_rns = '1234567890'; OAS_rn = new String (Math.random()); OAS_rns = OAS_rn.substring (2, 11); function OAS_NORMAL(pos) { document.write(''); document.write('<IMG SR' + 'C="' + OAS_url + 'adstream_nx.cgi/' + OAS_sitepage + '/1' + OAS_rns + '@' + OAS_listpos + '!' + pos + '?' + OAS_query + '" BORDER=0>'); } //--> OAS_version = 11; if (navigator.userAgent.indexOf('Mozilla/3') != -1 || navigator.userAgent.indexOf('Mozilla/4.0 WebTV') != -1) OAS_version = 10; if (OAS_version >= 11) document.write(''); //--> document.write(''); function OAS_AD(pos) { if (OAS_version >= 11) OAS_RICH(pos); else OAS_NORMAL(pos); } //-->



Stand-up gig could cost West Orange cop his job

'Club Soda Kenny' routine gets sergeant suspended without pay
Thursday, February 09, 2006BY JONATHAN CASIANO
Star-Ledger Staff
Around West Orange, John Feder is known as a no-nonsense police sergeant, a 22-year veteran with an $88,000 salary and a plum assignment in the department's internal affairs division.
But on the local comedy circuit, the towering cop goes by another name -- "Club Soda Kenny," a crass stand-up comic whose routine pokes fun at such taboo topics as rape, pedophilia and bestiality. The act has landed Club Soda Kenny on the popular "Opie & Anthony" radio program and gotten him gigs at top New York comedy clubs.
For years, Sgt. Feder and Club Soda Kenny have co-existed peacefully. But this week, the two personas collided when several West Orange officials were anonymously mailed a CD of Feder's act, an eight-minute, profanity-laced tirade performed at a December comedy show in Manhattan and later posted online. Feder does not wear his uniform or identify himself as a police officer in the act.
The routine, in which Club Soda Kenny jokes about raping a bride at knifepoint and molesting his own 5-year-old son, has, at least temporarily, cost Feder his gun, badge and paycheck.
He was suspended without pay Monday pending an investigation into his act, West Orange officials said. Though no administrative charges have been filed, the 48-year-old Feder could be charged with conduct unbecoming of an officer, an administrative offense that could strip Feder of his job and possibly even his pension, officials said.
Township officials would not comment on the investigation because it is an internal personnel matter. However, they said that if Feder was paid for his performance, it would be a violation of the department's policy that prohibits officers from moonlighting without departmental approval.
"Without question, he has no authorization under policy to do this as employment," Police Chief James Abbott said. "We would never allow anybody to make racial jokes or anything like that."
When visited at his home in Springfield yesterday, Feder declined to comment.
The suspension places West Orange squarely inside a legal gray area, pitting First Amendment advocates against defenders of decency.
Mayor John McKeon said the town has "zero tolerance for any law enforcement officer or other township employee that isn't racially sensitive or isn't sensitive to victims of criminal activity."
But Frank Askin, director of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers Law School in Newark, said the U.S. Constitution should protect Feder from repercussions at work, no matter how outlandish his routine.
"If he's off-duty, the First Amendment protects him and they can't punish him by taking his job away for exercising his right to free speech," Askin said.
The courts have upheld that view in the past.
In 1985, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Baltimore Police Department could not punish an officer for performing a blackface routine while off-duty, even though the performance sparked outrage and demonstrations throughout the city.
However, Alana Goebel, assistant director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said police departments should not tolerate officers who joke about rape, regardless of their right to speak freely.
"The coalition thinks it was absolutely an appropriate decision by this officer's superiors," Goebel said. "Rape isn't a joke."
Local comics and booking agents said Feder entered the comedy world almost 20 years ago when he befriended up-and-coming shock comic Andrew "Dice" Clay at Rascal's Comedy Club, which has since moved from West Orange to Montclair.
Clay offered Feder a job on his security team and would often incorporate him into his act. When Clay hit his peak in the late 1980s, Feder took a leave of absence from the police department to tour with him, said Tony Camacho, a New York agent who used to book Clay for Rascal's.
"That's where he got the name Club Soda Kenny, from Dice saying, 'Get me a club soda, Kenny,'" Camacho said. "He was like a sounding board for Dice while he was on stage."
When Clay stopped touring, Feder returned to the police force, but his stage name still carried weight on the comedy circuit.
"He has a certain reputation as a funny, tough-guy character -- you know, the whole Dice entourage kind of thing," said Ed Cavanagh, the entertainment director at Rascal's.
That reputation has landed Club Soda Kenny regular features on "Opie and Anthony," a program on XM satellite radio known for its low-ball humor and adolescent pranks. He's also appeared in the hidden-camera DVD "Meet the Creeps."
The CD sent to West Orange officials was from a Dec. 8 performance at the Laugh Factory comedy club in Times Square. For eight minutes, Club Soda Kenny rants about everything from pistol-whipping his wife to having sex with his dog.
The segment later was posted online with a picture of Feder and a brief description of his act. Both have since been taken off www.cringehumor.net, though the site still offers an "Opie and Anthony" segment featuring audio and photos of Feder.
Bob Levy, a South Jersey comic who performed with Feder about a year ago at Caroline's Comedy Club in Manhattan, said Club Soda Kenny is more of a cult character than an aspiring comic.
He admitted Feder's act was "pushing it a little," but said comedy routines do not always reflect a person's true feelings.
"If it doesn't affect your day job, what does it mean? It doesn't mean anything. It's like telling someone who's a cop you can't go out and sing karaoke."

Jonathan Casiano covers West Orange. He may be reached at [email protected].

© 2006 The Star Ledger © 2006 NJ.com All Rights Reserved. if (window.print) window.print();
 

·
33 &#8531;
Joined
·
15,621 Posts
"If it doesn't affect your day job, what does it mean? It doesn't mean anything. It's like telling someone who's a cop you can't go out and sing karaoke."
Yeah, if it does not affect your day job, you are right, it's wrong.

However, some cops should never be allowed to sing karoke. Sorry, but that is the truth.
 

·
Smiling's my favorite
Joined
·
251 Posts
I don't know, I'm not sure on this one. The guy's a cop and part of his stand-up act is about him raping women and molesting his own son. I think they might have a case with the "conduct unbecoming of an officer" thing. Also, there's the whole moonlighting thing they can always get him on.
 

·
I bleed Burnt Orange!
Joined
·
687 Posts
It would all have to do with the department's policy on moonlighting.

Some departments prohibit it, with no exceptions.

Also, in the past few years there have been cases in which an employer has sucessfully been able to regulate your non-work time. Can't say if that is the case in NJ, but it is elsewhere.
 

·
Poopship Destroyer
Joined
·
12,736 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
JrsyGrl said:
I don't know, I'm not sure on this one. The guy's a cop and part of his stand-up act is about him raping women and molesting his own son. I think they might have a case with the "conduct unbecoming of an officer" thing. Also, there's the whole moonlighting thing they can always get him on.
He wasn't moonlighting though. He wasn't getting paid for this. It was just done for gags. Also, he doesnt actually rape or molest. I mean the guys a sergeant with internal affairs. His whole "Club Soda Kenny" persona was basically to keep his anonymity. In other words keeping his off time separate from his work time. As far as conduct unbecoming, he isn't actually doing the stuff he's talking about. I've heard some of his act and it's so over the top wrong that it's ridiculous. The character of "Kenny" that he plays is supposed to be a slightly dumb body guard/buttkisser or as they say "big and stupid".

I'm sorry, but what someone does in their own time, that isn't breaking any laws, should be protected by the Constitution. He wasn't doing this in a public forum where people would accidentally hear it. The performance was done for people who wanted to hear offensive material.

This is no different than what they did to Lenny Bruce. Getting punished for telling a joke is wrong no matter how you swing it. It's no different than Larry Flynt taking jabs at politicians and celebrities in Hustler. It's meant to make you uncomfortable, hence the cringe factor.

People just can't seem to separate a "character" (Club Soda) from the real person (Feder).
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top