CBS fired Don Imus from his radio program Thursday, the end result of days of speculation and action by MSNBC, and an uproar from Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Imus was given a two-week suspension for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos” on the air last week, but unrelenting outrage continued and sponsors and ad sales withdrew from his CBS radio show and its MSNBC simulcast.
“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 Les Moonves said in announcing the decision. “That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision.”
CNN reports that Rutgers women’s basketball team spokeswoman Stacey Brann said the team did not have an immediate comment on Imus’ firing.
The Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson met with Moonves on Thursday to demand Imus’ removal, promising a rally outside CBS headquarters Saturday and an effort to urge even more advertisers to bail on Imus.
Imus, whose suspension was supposed to start next week, was broadcasting Thursday’s radio program from the MSNBC studios in New Jersey, even though NBC News said the night before that MSNBC would no longer simulcast his program on television.
On CNN, Sharpton and Jackson emerged from a meeting with Moonves saying the
corporate chief had promised to consider their requests. “It’s not about taking Imus down,” Sharpton said. “It’s about lifting decency up.”
Imus’ wife Deirdre Imus, whose household cleaning guide, “Green This!” came out this week has canceled her promotional tour “because of the enormous pressure that Deirdre and her family are under,” said Simon & Schuster publicist Victoria Meyer.
Meanwhile, the Rutgers’ team appeared Thursday on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” with their coach, C. Vivian Stringer.
Imus said earlier Thursday he still wants to meet with the team.
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