Did Don Imus finally go too far?

040807imus.jpgUnimpressed by his on-air apology or corporate promises of a tighter leash, angry critics of nationally syndicated radio host Don Imus called Saturday for his dismissal over his racially charged comments about the mostly black Rutgers women’s basketball team.

“I accept his apology, just as I want his bosses to accept his resignation,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton. He promised to picket Imus’ New York radio home, WFAN-AM, unless the veteran of nearly 40 years of anything-goes broadcasting is gone within a week.

Sharpton was not alone in his anger over Imus’ description of the Rutgers’ women as “nappy headed hos” during a Wednesday morning segment of his show, which airs for millions of listeners on more than 70 stations and the MSNBC television network.

On Friday, after Imus delivered an on-air apology, both WFAN and MSNBC condemned his remarks. WFAN issued a statement promising to “monitor the program’s content” but Imus, a member of the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame, was not publicly disciplined.

The National Association of Black Journalists, the editor-in-chief of Essence magazine and a New York sports columnist joined the chorus against Imus.

“What he has said has deeply hurt too many people — black and white, male and female,” said NABJ President Bryan Monroe. “His so-called apology comes two days after the fact, and it is too little, too late.”

Angela Burt Murray, of Essence magazine, called on Imus’ bosses to take a harder stance over his “unacceptable” remarks. “It needs to be made clear that this type of behavior is offensive and will not be tolerated without severe consequences,” Murray said.

Columnist Filip Bondy of the Daily News, in a column headlined “Imus spews hate, should be fired,” said the radio star “should be axed for one of the most despicable comments ever uttered on the air.”

The Rutgers team, which includes eight black women, lost the NCAA women’s championship game Tuesday, and Imus was discussing the game with producer Bernard McGuirk.

“That’s some rough girls from Rutgers,” Imus said. “Man, they got tattoos …”

“Some hardcore hos,” said McGuirk.

“That’s some nappy headed hos there, I’m going to tell you that,” Imus said.

Karen Mateo, a spokeswoman for WFAN’s parent company CBS Radio, said Saturday there was no additional comment on the Imus situation.

Imus’ success has often been a a result of his on-air barbs.

“That Imus is in trouble for being politically incorrect is certainly not new,” said Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio. “He’s lived his life in and out of trouble … This is something CBS will be watching very carefully.”

Recent controversies involving Imus focused on a member of his morning team, Sid Rosenberg, who was fired two years ago after a particularly vile crack about cancer-stricken singer Kylie Minogue. Before that, a racially tinged comment by Rosenberg about Venus and Serena Williams stirred another controversy.

The NABJ cited two other incidents in which Imus himself insulted two black journalists. Imus has called PBS’ Gwen Ifill a “cleaning lady” and described William Rhoden of The New York Times as “a quota hire,” the group said.

Sharpton said he was writing to the Federal Communications Commission about Imus’ remarks.

“This is not some unemployed comic like Michael Richards,” Sharpton said, referring to the “Seinfeld” actor who used the N-word and referred to lynching in a rant last year. “This is an established figure, allowed to use the airwaves for sexist and racist remarks.”

Comments

  1. Sandy Price

    I hope all the Imus critics listened to him this morning on MSNBC. He explained that what he said about the Rutger’s women’s team was a horrible thing and he is trying to apologize to each and every member of the Basketball team.

    He telephoned Al Sharpton and will be on his radio program this afternoon which can be picked up streaming on

    Al Sharpton radio show l:00 P.M. Eastern time.

    Imus apologized sincerely and I hope everyone will listen to the show.

  2. Michael Allen

    Imus pushes the envelope and this is simply what he does best. Those of us who abhor racism and have a good sense of humor – we all know he didn’t mean anything malicious by this. It’s not for children — it’s an adult show that dares to poke fun at EVERYBODY & EVERYTHING. Last time I checked that was OK under the 1st amendment. People need to get over themselves. It’s the 21st century gang! Blacks marry whites, whites marry blacks, and no one CARES anymore !! I’ll say it again, pick up a Chris Rock DVD, laugh at yourself, and let Don Imus say whatever the heck he wants to say. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

  3. gene

    If the guy is helping (kids) with serious medical issues leave him alone. I don’t give a flying f**k what color your skin is and those dam stupid Nigers need to keep their mouths shut. Black or white who cares, sick is sick and helping those who really need it (especially childreen black or white) is all that counts, of course unless you are color sensitive.

  4. Thomas Fredrich II

    People in America (U.S.A) need to realize that television shows like Imus,Stern, and other news casters who joke about politics and life around the world don’t really care who they talk about. The fact is that America is built on class and racism. What one white man says to a black man as a racist comment equals the same as a black man saying something racist to a white man. It doesn’t matter whether television shows make fun or racy comments about blacks, whites, rednecks, asians, arabs, etc…, people need to understand that it happens and it doesn’t mean we need to blow a fit, hmmmm…(Al Sharpton!). I’m not saying I hate the man or that I hate any race of people. I believe that we are all one being, just with different beliefs. Basically, I’m saying that people who feel that Imus should be thrown off the air are being irrational and thoughtless. Before you call someone racist or “gone-to-far”, think about the last time you were racist or even hurtful towards another of a different race!

  5. S. Johnson

    Surprise, surprise. Here comes the calvery, protecting Imus in his time of need. Talking heads discussing how much the Black rappers are like Imus, how Al Sharpton has said things in the past, how unfair it is that Black people have their way because of the racist past that was afforded them by whites……ad nauseum.

    People, it all boils down to this: Imus made a comment that wasn’t only a affront to those women on the basketball team; he made a comment that just about any Black person over the age of 30 would recognize–after all, most of the whites in this country used (and some are STILL using) those very same terms to describe Black people, and before the Civil Rights came of age, they got away with it, and didn’t really give a damn about that person nor his/her race, but, that was then–nowdays, Imus’s comment took the Black population back to those troubled and problematical times….and they deserve to be angry about it. For some of you on this board, you could NEVER understand having to live day to day with those comments, racist actions leveled at you; having to pertty much fight your way thru the attitudes and the looks you got from whites, the doors closing in your face, and still there were the comments–as racist as ever– (which by the way, Imus proved is still prevelent in this country TODAY), and why those who defend Imus’s right to say such vile and hateful things don’t understand just how much those words cause major anger in the Black community. But, you wouldn’t care about that–it’s only insulting to a race that you don’t respect anyway, so what’s the harm? To Mr. Thompson, who wrote the article, I would say that racisim DOESN’T know color, and it DOES cross the color line in either direction; there, you are perfectly correct…. but, I don’t hear any Black radio personalities (few that there are) giving diatribes on how whites should be shot on sight, which is about the level of Imus’s comment to the Black community. He went over the line here.
    Forgiveness is only for those who deserve it; and Imus deserves to be fired for his actions.

  6. W. McMahon

    Don Imus should not appear on MSNBC again. I always watch this channel, and Imus did a great diservice to this network.

  7. Flexo

    I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked and appalled, but I am. Why is it that no one is talking about how offensive his comments are towards all women, not just black women? I’m sorry, but why is it that no one blinks an eye when women are called whores? Whether it is Imus, Stern or rap artists… it doesn’t matter. It is patently offensive to all women to use the term “ho” as a general term for a female.

    Why is it that no one ever calls the sexuality of an entire male team into question? Yes, of course — it is not actually offensive to say that a male has sex (the term “pimp” is a badge of pride)… but what if their sexual prowess were called into question? How come that never happens? Well, because all the men would be all up in arms over that.

    Nope, it’s just women who are told to “lighten up” when they are called sluts or whores.

  8. Sandy Price

    Let the network figure out that Imus has carried the time period when he is on that channel over and above other programs. He has promoted so many of the other MSNBC shows just to keep their ratings up. Don Imus is too good for MSNBC. He is the only honest commentator found on that station.

    This action was a movement from Fox News to down grade MSNBC in general and Imus in particular.

    I remember when Mort Sahl did not buy the Warren Report on the death of President Kennedy and the powers that be in D.C. tore him apart and Sahl lost his ability to be on television but saved his integrity. We are so politically correct in America and so frustrated at what our government is doing to all of us that the downfall of Imus has become the great diversion.

    Imus is good for his commercial supporters but they must be politically correct so let them be the losers when pulling away from the I-Man.

    I wonder if Keith Olbermann has the balls to stand up for Don Imus I have had company for several days and have not watched the television and if the ignorant talk show hosts of MSNBC don’t stand up for Imus, they will be the losers; they are not leading the other networks except when Imus in the Morning is on.

    I was not particularly interested in the statement he made and thought he said “happy headed hos” I’ve never heard the term nappy headed before in my life. Leave it to Sharpton and Jackson to blow this up and then allow Fox news to add the final insults. We all have our reasons to watch or not watch Imus and my reasons are for his interviews with the politicians and authors. Now Sharpton has asked that all Democrats running for election stay away from Don Imus. That’s called America’s new freedom of speech.

    It’s bad enough to see the corruption in our government and now we see corruption in our television and radio managers. I can only hope Don Imus is not watching what his station is doing to his name. Everyone is too eager to strike at someone when they are down and out. Imus still has his fans and I can only hope another station will offer him his continuing work for the sick kids in America. The American public never fails to disquiet me.

  9. Shouldn’t the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team also be outraged? They defeated Rutgers’ women Scarlet Knights (as Imus would say, “You can’t make this up.”) and who is getting all the media attention, including an appearance on Oprah.? Not the Lady Vols.

    Perhaps UT Coach Pat Summit should call for an investigation whether Bernard McGuirk is an agent of Karl Rove. Mission? Destroy Imus for his
    stand against the war in Iraq. Who, after all. initiated the on-air comments
    that, past Imusisms having failed, are now the basis to can I-man? McGuirk.

    Ho’s By You

    If you don’t know
    I’m telling you so
    McGuirk ain’t no bro
    He’s really a foe
    doing his work
    like a hack and a jerk
    Rove and Dick Cheny
    I tell you this plainly
    they’v stooped real low
    getting Imus to say “ho”
    Once Imus has went
    They won’t spare the rent
    to continue their jive
    to keep the right-wing alive
    It wasn’t a quirk
    That they used McGuirk
    We gotta act fast
    Or we’ll be in the past
    We did not even belch
    When Imus trashed the wife of Jack Welch
    once GE honcho
    who don’t like to eat crow
    Just go with the flow
    If you be white, no-no to “ho”

  10. Word of God Militia Legatus 1TTA1

      Everybody wants me to be "politically incorrect", eh? You know, I just thought of the most politically incorrect thing an individual can say: Sleepy-Eyed Ho-bama, ho, ho!