Randi Rhodes Quits Air America Radio
Randi Rhodes is no longer employed by Air America.
The company’s official statement
Last week Air America suspended Randi Rhodes for abusive, obscene language at a recent public appearance in San Francisco which was sponsored by an Air America affiliate station.
Air America Media was informed last night by Ms. Rhodes that she has chosen to terminate her employment with the company.
We wish her well and thank her for past services to Air America. We will soon announce exciting new talent and programming that will accelerate Air America’s growth in the future.
Joe Gandelman, who speculates that Rhodes may have been pushed rather than jumping, has more thoughts.
What’s most notable about this incident is that it shows that there is a line that can’t be crossed — particularly in a divisive election year.
Vigorous, even controversial discussions or characterizations could spark denunciations but aren’t on the same level as name-calling swearing (even if, as some argued, it was done to be funny or even satirical).
One presumes that there’s a sliding scale, depending on how much revenue one is bringing in. Rhodes was, therefore, on a shorter leash than, say, Rush Limbaugh would be. But, yes, there appear to be limits. Ask Don Imus, who has had a much more successful career than Rhodes.
UPDATE: HuffPo’s Danny Shea reports, “Randi Rhodes quit Air America after being asked by the network to apologize for her inflammatory remarks against Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro.”
A source at Air America, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “Many people screw up and then apologize and move on. Like Imus. Like David Shuster. Like Jay Rockefeller on McCain. Like Obama on Rezko. Like Hillary on Bosnia. Randi Rhodes refused to apologize for her obscene comments and has chosen instead to terminate her relationship with Air America.”
The source also said that there is no love lost between Rhodes and her colleagues at the network. “No one is upset. She made the move but there’s relief and joy.”
Dismissing claims that Rhodes was just doing stand-up comedy in San Francisco when she made the remarks, the source confirmed that Air America paid her way to California, that she was advertised as “Air America’s Randi Rhodes,” and that the Air America website urged people to go for “an evening of politics and pop culture.” The source said, “Air America pays people to be talk show hosts, not stand-up comics, or else we’d hire Chris Rock.”
It remains unclear who will substitute for Rhodes’ time slot in both the short- and long-term, but the source said the network is looking at Rhodes’ departure as an opportunity to rebuild. “Sometimes it’s for the best that the leading player leaves so you can rebuild with better talent.”