Imus Suspended For Two Weeks
April 9, 2007 at 4:34 PM (PT)
On the heels of an appearance today on Rev. AL SHARPTON's SYNDICATION ONE show, WESTWOOD ONE and WFAN-A/NEW YORK host DON IMUS has been suspended for two weeks from his radio show and his MSNBC-TV simulcast.
A statement from CBS RADIO says, "Due to the events of the past week, CBS RADIO will suspend DON IMUS and the broadcast of his show for a period of two weeks, effective MONDAY, APRIL 16. The program will continue to broadcast this week due to WFAN’s previously scheduled on-air charity fundraiser [the anual TOMORROW'S CHILDREN'S FUND/C.J. FOUNDATION/IMUS RANCH radiothon] on THURSDAY, APRIL 12 and FRIDAY, APRIL 13."
Are you crazy? How am I unscathed? Don't you think I've been humiliated?
IMUS appeared on SHARPTON's show earlier MONDAY to respond to SHARPTON's demand that IMUS be fired for his now-infamous comments last week about the RUTGERS women's basketball team ("nappy-headed hos," IMUS said).
In a contentious exchange, IMUS, who said "Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far," denied SHARPTON's contention that he was getting off "unscathed" by apologizing for the comments, asking SHARPTON, "Are you crazy? How am I unscathed? Don't you think I've been humiliated?" "I'm trying to meet with these young women and the coach to ask for forgiveness," IMUS told SHARPTON.
"If I'd have been thinking, I wouldn't have said this," IMUS said of his comments, but the talk veered into a discussion of sickle cell anemia fundraising (IMUS said, "I bet I can raise a lot more money than you all can," with SHARPTON retorting that "before last WEDNESDAY you could") and several past incidents on IMUS' show.
"This is not about whether you’re a good man," SHARPTON told IMUS. "This is about whether racist language can be used in an unrestricted manner on a federally regulated radio show. What you said is racist."
Rep. CAROLYN CHEEKS KILPATRICK (D-MI), Chairman of the CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS, called in to voice her offense at IMUS' comments, adding "I don't know what it does to young children" to hear IMUS' comments. "We don't call it nappy hair- that's a child thing,' she said. "We call it good hair, and curly." She added that "Mr. IMUS doesn't understand the impact" of his comments, and said he and his crew "need to be fired."
KILPATRICK suggested that Congress should regulate speech on the airwaves and on MSNBC, and continued to rip IMUS for insulting women in general, leading IMUS to complain in exasperation, "I can't get anyplace with you people," drawing SHARPTON to suggest that the term "you people" meant something racist, which IMUS vehemently objected, saying that he clearly meant SHARPTON and KILPATRICK.
"Somewhere we must draw the line in what is tolerable in mainstream media," SHARPTON said SUNDAY before the broadcast. "We cannot keep going through offending us and then apologizing and then acting like it never happened. Somewhere we've got to stop this."
IMUS' apology FRIDAY did not quell calls by SHARPTON and Rev. JESSE JACKSON, as well as the NEW JERSEY chapter of the NAACP, for IMUS' firing, and JACKSON', with about 50 RAINBOWPUSH COALITION members, picketed NBC's CHICAGO offices MONDAY (NBC's MSNBC simulcasts IMUS' show). JACKSON says that protests will continue daily at NBC facilities in CHICAGO, ATLANTA, LOS ANGELES, and SAN FRANCISCO between Noon and 1p.
MSNBC has posted a video of some of the IMUS/SHARPTON exchange here.