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Is it OK to joke about the ‘nonbinary’? A popular Boston radio host is about to find out

Matt Siegel was told to tone down his commentary on singer Demi Lovato and didn’t take it well

SHARE Is it OK to joke about the ‘nonbinary’? A popular Boston radio host is about to find out
Pop singer Demi Lovato performed with the Boston Pops at the Esplanade in Boston in 2016, but longtime Boston radio personality Matt Siegel did not like the singer’s announcement about being nonbinary.

Demi Lovato performs during rehearsal for the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade in Boston, Sunday, July 3, 2016.

Michael Dwyer, Associated Press

A longtime radio host in Boston is poised to become a hero of the fight against cancel culture.

Matt Siegel, known as “Matty in the morning” on top-40 station WXKS-FM, appeared to quit on the air Wednesday after he was told to tone down his commentary on Demi Lovato, a pop singer who had just announced that she is nonbinary and would adopt the use of the pronoun “they” instead of she and her.

But 24 hours later, Siegel was back on the air.

The saga began shortly after Lovato said on Twitter, “I’m doing this for those out there that haven’t been able to share who they truly are with their loved ones. Please keep living in your truths & know I am sending so much love your way.”

Siegel, who has worked for the station since 1981 and has twice been named “Personality of the Year” by the National Association of Broadcasters, didn’t take the announcement seriously, later saying, “It’s a joke, the whole binary thing.”

But Siegel turned serious after his boss told him off-the-air to stop talking about Lovato. He said on the air that he was being asked to be a “lightweight” host who only talked about inconsequential things, and that he wasn’t willing to do that.

He said he had previously been told that he couldn’t talk negatively about former President Donald Trump. “If I’m left-wing and I go anti-Trump, I get in trouble. Today, I was, quote, unquote, anti-wokeness, and I can’t do that either. ... I can’t do what I really want to do and be a funny comic who tells it like it is.”

Siegel then apologized to his co-hosts and said, “I’m ending my portion of the radio show right now. I want to say to all my listeners, I love you, it’s been a hell of a run, I think it’s coming to an end.” He signed off an hour before the show was supposed to end, saying, “Matty out.”

The angry monologue, which was recorded by some listeners in Boston, was soon the talk of New England Twitter, with Siegel fans wondering if he would return Thursday. He did, and appears to have reached an agreement with his iHeartRadio bosses that can continue to push the wokeness envelope.

On Thursday’s show, he said that he had “snapped” the previous day, Boston’s WBZ reported. “Of course, I talked to my wife about it, and I talked with the company and the company told me that, they basically said please don’t quit. And they said that I have total support from them and freedom to say what I want. So I kind of won that battle,” Siegel said.

He opened the show Thursday by saying, “I’m here. Good morning.”

Which sounded much like Matt Siegel 1, cancel culture 0.