CBS Fires Don Imus
Following MSNBC’s lead, CBS Radio has fired Don Imus.
Imus initially was suspended for two weeks for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos” on the air last week, but outrage continued to grow and advertisers bolted from his programs.
“There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society,” CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said in announcing the decision. “That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision.”
Quite bizarre. Imus has a longstanding reputation as a “shock jock” but that hasn’t stopped him from being invited to do things like perform at the National Association of Broadcasters’ dinner with the President of the United States or Senators, media celebrities, and other luminaries from appearing on his show over the years. It’s stunning hypocrisy to pretend this is somehow unexpected behavior.
Obviously, they’re a business and they have the right to do this. Still, it seems an absurd overreaction to me.
I don’t know the language of Imus’ contract but I presume CBS will owe him for the remainder of his contract. Given the nature of the program, I can’t imagine he gave them a “morals clause” as an easy out.
In any case, presuming he’s interested at this stage of his career in starting over, I’m sure he’ll join Howard Stern on satellite radio in the not-too-distant future.