At long last somebody with a nose for news finally pinned former KCUR FM host Jabulani Leffall down long enough to ask – and get – the long awaited answers to tough questions as to why he bailed on the station with no warning at the end of his show a few weeks back.
And the answer is – drum roll, please – he’s nuts.
If that sounds a bit harsh, check out what Leffall told Pitch writer Ben Palosaari, who probably deserves an Oscar for keeping a straight face while plumbing Leffall of his shocking innermost thoughts and strange reasonings for his departure.
Starting with that Leffall is revolting against those soul robbing, four day a week, 9 to 5 work days.
I mean, who needs that kind of aggravation?
And that he decided to quit KCUR on the air after two years there on but a minute’s notice. Literally.
We also learn that the Pitch made contact with Leffall very shortly after he bailed but sat on the story for weeks because it was so weird.
Something about Leffall steering the conversation into “strange territory, referencing race, eavesdropping, space aliens and God’s existence.”
What’s not to report about that?
No wonder they instead ran a headline story based on a single source claiming that Leffall wasn’t on drugs. It would have helped make that story understandable had they reported the first interview instead of sitting on it.
While the Pitch deserves credit for (finally) drilling down on Leffall’s story, it’s lame that it failed to report it in a timely fashion because – why? – sounds like maybe because they thought Leffall was on drugs.
“The Pitch withheld publication of the interview until Leffall could provide context for his statements,” Palosaari writes.
Even at that, it took the alt weekly a week to get the story out after its face-to-face with Leffall at a downtown coffee shop.
“Leffall refused to talk about interoffice politics,” Palosaari writes. “He also hesitated to touch on the most startling things he’d said in his initial interview. Asked if he was going through a mental-health crisis, Leffall denied that he had been in any kind of trouble before acknowledging one factor contributing to his actions.”
OK, not enough sleep. Right.
Leffall also told the Pitch he’d been through “similar traumas” and “similar circumstances” as schizophrenia.
And try this Leffall quote on for size:
“I think it’s easy to point to mental health when someone says, ‘Enough. I don’t want to be controlled anymore. I don’t want to be in fear about a job anymore. I don’t want to be in this control system.’ It’s like when Charlie Sheen says, ‘Tiger blood. I’m rich, so screw you. I don’t have to conform to anything. I don’t have to kiss up to my executive producer Chuck Lorre. I can do what I want. If I want to destroy myself with drugs or alcohol, that’s my right.’ ”
Now onto the good stuff…
While Star columnist Jenee Osterheldt completely missed the boat on pinning Leffall down on the reasons for his exit, Palosaari was not to be denied.
“During the first interview, Leffall claimed that KCUR treated him like a ‘black slave.’ ” Palosaari writes. “He refused to explain that accusation at Lattéland. He repeated his claim, however, that KCUR management had been “eavesdropping” on him.
” ‘I can’t confirm that they were, but I have my suspicions,’ he said.”
Leffall says he quit KCUR because he was treated like a black slave and the station was eavesdropping on him.
Yikes stripes. Leffall is one strange cat.
Told in the initial Pitch contact that he wasn’t being interviewed on speakerphone, Leffall shot back: “Do you have me on a closed-circuit loop like when they did the lethal injection of me today and executed me?”
Backed into a corner, KCUR general manager Nico Leone denied that Leffall was treated unfairly or eavesdropped upon…in a statement issued from under his desk at the station.
“In the first interview, Leffall also said God’s existence was a lie, and that people don’t die; they go into space to be eaten by aliens,” Palosaari writes. “In the follow-up, he stepped back from that view. ‘Dude, if I call you at 4 o’clock in the morning, you might be on some stream-of-consciousness shit,’ he says.”
There’s still more, but all things considered Leffall made more than a case for being considered a total a nut job with KCUR the better off without him. And for his Kansas City prosecutor girlfriend dumping him.
A bizarre final chapter for a bizarre dude and a bizzarre three weeks of what passes for reporting.
And remember, Leffall declined to return requests by KC Confidential for an interview.
No wonder he was (and still is) hiding out!!!