Over the years, the MJ Morning Show, and its former incarnation as the MJ & BJ Morning Show, has been known for some crazy stunts that have raised an eyebrow from radio station managers to first responders. From Fester jumping off the Gandy Bridge in the late 1990s to the Harry Potter book ordeal of 2007 to the turkey fryer fire fiasco of 2009, there have been more than a handful of these stories. It had been a while since such a stunt of this magnitude had occurred on the show, but on April 13, 2022, the crew was back in a serious limelight it typically tries to avoid.
Thanks to a news story about a Lake County, FL babysitter punishing a four-year-old boy by putting him in a clothes dryer, MJ got the bright idea in his mind to reenact this story as a public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness not to put children in household appliances. Of course, Shorty Shane, the latest little person to become part of the MJ Morning Show as Dave the Dwarf has essentially stepped aside from doing stunts due to his health, could be a perfect candidate to play a four-year-old child, climb into a dryer, and experience what it would be like when turned on.
So, Fester, Shorty Shane, and Buck the video guy met up at a laundromat on Fourth Street in St. Petersburg to record a video of the premise. Shane and his “best friend” apparently frequent this laundromat and know the lady who manages the facility. They went inside, told the manager their plan to put Shane in the dryer, and then went ahead and started recording the video. After shooting an opening scene outside, they went back in and had Shane climb into the machine with blankets and pillows inside to hopefully prevent any injuries. They turned on the machine for a short time and captured some great footage of him spinning around inside the dryer.
Once the manager realized what was happening after telling them they were not allowed to put Shane in the dryer, she then threatened to call the police. The crew picked up everything and was ready to hightail it out of there since they had gotten the video content they wanted, but the manager then followed them out into the parking lot and stood behind Shane’s car, blocking him from being able to leave. Plus, Fester had incidentally kept Shane’s car keys in his pocket, so that also held Shane up from getting out. She proceeded to call the police who took 45 minutes to show up as they realized it was not a dire emergency.
During the waiting period, Fester claimed he cautiously tried to move the manager out from behind Shane’s vehicle so she would not get hit, and she later claimed to the police that he forcefully pushed her. Before the cops showed up, Steve Triplett, the vice president of the Beasley Media Group stations in the Tampa market, arrived on the scene to speak to the manager. When the two St. Petersburg police officers came, everyone shared their sides of the story and explained the situation. Ultimately, Fester and Shorty Shane were issued trespassing warrants to not set foot on the laundromat property for a year. However, one of the cops explained to the manager that she had technically committed false imprisonment by blocking in Shane’s car from being able to leave the lot. While she wanted charges pressed against Fester and Shane, they told her that she could actually be charged with a felony for her actions during the situation, and that opening an investigation could result in her being punished much more severely than Fester and Shane.
At the end of the ordeal, Steve promised the manager that the radio station would not post any of the video footage Buck had captured during the event. This did not sit well with MJ, so he convinced Steve and Nio Encendio, the program director of the Spanish radio station 92.5 FM Maxima, to go to the laundromat on Thursday to speak with the manager who mainly speaks Spanish. Their main goal was to see if she would agree to allow them to use the video footage, as long as it did not contain any images of she or identifiable elements of the laundromat. Unfortunately, she had the day off. So, they were planning to head on over on Friday morning after the show.
UPDATE: Steve spoke with the laundromat manager again and even talked to her boss on the phone. Much to the crew’s frustration, he agreed that they would not publish the video of the stunt in any capacity. MJ said he might wait a year for the statute of limitations to run out and for the trespassing warrants to expire and then post it. Thanks to Fester’s daughter, Hadley, he agreed to redo the stunt. He and Shorty Shane went to the Palm Harbor Laundromat to reshoot the video which is now available at MJMorningShow.com.