Advertisers bail on Imus

041107imus.jpgStaples Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. have pulled their advertising from Don Imus’ radio show in the wake of the furor caused by his comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team (left).

The two companies on Tuesday added to the fallout that began when the now-suspended radio show host called the players “nappy-headed hos” on his April 4 show.

“Because of the recent comments that were made on the program it did prompt us to take a look at our decision to advertise on the program and we have decided to stop advertising,” Staples spokesman Paul Capelli said Tuesday night.

“Once we became aware of the comment, we sort of stepped back and took a look at it,” he said, declining to disclose the dollar amount of the advertising involved. “We weren’t on today and are not planning on being on going forward.

“I can’t speculate on what we might do in the future,” he said.

P&G spokesman Terry Loftus said the company pulled ads from the show as of last Friday. Another sponsor, Bigelow Tea, said in a statement posted on its Web site that the remarks have “put our future sponsorship in jeopardy.”

Calls for the radio host’s dismissal have been growing, including from groups such as the National Organization for Women and the National Association of Black Journalists.

The 10 members of the Rutgers team spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about the on-air comments, made the day after the team lost the NCAA championship game to Tennessee.

Some of them wiped away tears as their coach, C. Vivian Stringer, criticized Imus for “racist and sexist remarks that are deplorable, despicable, abominable and unconscionable.” The women, eight of whom are black, called his comments insensitive and hurtful.

“It kind of scars us. We grew up in a world where racism exists, and there’s nothing we can do to change that,” said Matee Ajavon, a junior guard. “I think that this has scarred me for life.”

The women agreed, however, to meet with Imus privately next Tuesday and hear his explanation. They held back from saying whether they’d accept Imus’ apologies or passing judgment on whether a two-week suspension imposed by CBS Radio and MSNBC was sufficient.

Several players said they wanted to ask him why he would make such thoughtless statements.

Junior forward Essence Carson said she had done some research on Imus and his past inflammatory and derogatory statements about other people.

“Just knowing that this has happened time and time before, I felt that it might be time to make a stand,” she said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show.

“He doesn’t know who we are as people,” Carson said. “That’s why we are just so appalled with his insensitive remarks, not only about African-American women, but about women as a whole.”

In Washington, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino was asked if the president thought Imus’ punishment was strong enough, but said it was up to Imus’s employer to decide any further action.

“The president believed that the apology was the absolute right thing to do,” Perino said Tuesday.

Imus has apologized repeatedly for his comments. He said Tuesday he hadn’t been thinking when making a joke that went “way too far.” He also said that those who called for his firing without knowing him, his philanthropic work or what his show was about would be making an “ill-informed” choice.

MSNBC has said it will watch to see whether Imus changes the tenor of future programs.

The radio show originates from WFAN-AM in New York City and is syndicated nationally by Westwood One, both of which are managed by CBS Corp. (MSNBC, which simulcasts the show on cable, is a part of NBC Universal, which is owned by General Electric Co.)

Insults are nothing new on his show, where Colin Powell was once called a “weasel” and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was referred to as a “fat sissy.”

Rutgers’ coach said Wednesday that he crossed the line with her team. She first heard about the remarks as she was leaving a celebration honoring the players’ success in making it to the NCAA championship game. When the players should have been taking congratulations they were getting calls about Imus’ insults instead, she told “Today.”

“I’ve heard so many other talk show hosts speak on this, they say that’s the way our society is,” Stringer said Wednesday. “You know what? The society is the way it is because adults don’t take leadership roles.”

“We need to be shining examples of what should be,” Stringer said. “No one is right in speaking about any person in such a derogatory way.



Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana in Piscataway, N.J., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press


  1. TRUTH 101

    While I don’t condone what IMUS said, the “so called” furor, FUELED BY FOX is exactly what they wanted (to get advertisers to cancel and thus quite possibly get the show cancelled) and ONCE AGAIN they come in the back door.

    Are we that moronic in America that we can’t see what this network of buffons is up to ? Not just with IMUS but with anyone and everyone who doesn’t preach and tow the Murdoch party line


  2. TRUTHer

    I so agree with you. Anyone who watched IMUS, know’s he is such a good person, and donates so much money and TIME to worthy causes and sick kids. His show bashes everyone..everyone, no color barrier, no gender barrier, everyone. Especially he bashes the pResident bush,and cheney, who he calls war criminals. so it seems like without Imus around, no one is left to bash this putrid administration. I am not saying he is right, and I turn him off 10 times during each show, I even take offense, especially with some of his staff……but this seems like a ‘swiftboat’ style attack that just swept over the media way to fast for it now to have been planned. and I point to FAUX is that link and see what ann coulter said about DARFUR..and did not make waves. Well, I did manage to send it to Olberman, MSNBC, several websites..etc

  3. Ruth Cole

    Truth 101 is so correct, but it never occured to me. This whole entire fiasco could well be organized by Fox. The payoff is clear: it takes down the highest ratings of MSNBC, and MSNBC had just caused CNN to fire their morning lineup to compete with Imus; Fox certainly does not care about minorities or they could never back Bush; by taking Imus off the air they have harmed African Americans because Imus works raising millions to help sick children-half of them black! He and his wife take sick black children into their own home. Would a true racist do that?

  4. Kate

    I absolutely agree with you. My God who gets bashed more on that show then BIll and Hillary. He dumps on everyone, thats the beauty of it. My nephew was lucky enough to do an internship with Imus and the entire time he was there Imus referred to him as the “fat intern”. You take it in the manner it is meant.

  5. Steven Horn

    I neither like nor dislike Imus – in fact I don’t have time to waste watching/listening to him or others of his ilk – from what I understand he makes his living by making fun of people (you know, sometimes you’ve just got think “this is such a great nation”) – now – I’m not sure what being “nappy-headed” means – but sometimes you need to take the speaker into consideration …. so the guy is a loud-mouthed jagoff – well – that’s how he makes his living.

    I’ll admit to snickering a bit while Jesse Jacksons comments on what Imus had to say – consumed by his outrage and enraptured by the sound of his own voice he apparently forgot the time he refered to New York as “hymietown” – and he’s an ordained minister – not a “shock jock” –

    Guess it comes down to the old “let he who is without sin throw the first stone” – being a minister I’d presume that Jesse would have a working knowledge of the book from which that comes (the Bible) –

    Plus – anybody recall “freedom of speech”?? Or does that only stand when it’s speech that offends no one and raises no controversy – if that’s the case – then it’s no longer free.