Longtime Howard Stern fan/sidekick “Captain Janks” called in to KUSA-TV posing as police officer “Chief Oates.” He falsely claimed that a fifteenth victim died as a result of last night’s shootings.
“He was actually very angry,” Janks said of the purported shooting victim, “because he lost on America’s Got Talent and Howard Stern voted him down.”
Howard Stern has long argued that prank calls such as this one serve a social purpose by exposing the media’s lax quality controls.
A few Stern fans spoke out in support of Janks:
#rip to all the victims in Colo.. but @captainjanks is funny so chill out 🙂
— PhonyPhoneCalls.com (@PhonyPhoneCall) July 20, 2012
Most Twitter users, however, felt the prank was in incredibly poor taste:
Hopefully police will track down idiot who just made prank call about shooting in #aurora and placed on air and mumbled about Howard Stern.
— Darren Ingram (@DarrenPIngram) July 20, 2012
— A.J. Black (@BCHysteria) July 20, 2012
I encourage every twitter follower of mine to retweet this message and report Howard Stern minion @captainjanks, (cont) http://t.co/eIWF8RuF
— Paul Hanlin Jr (@Paul_Hanlin_Jr) July 20, 2012
Captain Janks. Guy is a sociopath. “@The_MDA: Who prank calls a news station during something like this?”
— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) July 20, 2012
Disgusting. RT @mpoppel Person who told KUSA-TV that death toll had risen to 15 RT @captainjanks Just did a prank call to KUSA in Colorado.
— Heather (@hmfearny) July 20, 2012
Janks’ prank serves as a useful reminder that Stern’s lovable persona on America’s Got Talent is very different from his vulgar persona on radio. Stern can’t be too pleased with such tragedy-exploiting antics, but he can no more disown his entourage than he can disown his own shadow.