CBS also pulls plug on Imus
POSTED: 4:58 p.m. EDT, April 12, 2007
• NEW: CBS pulls plug on "Imus in the Morning," effective immediately
• Imus says he will not go on "some talk show tour"
• TV network will no longer simulcast "Imus in the Morning"
• Rutgers women's basketball team will meet with Imus
NEW YORK (CNN) -- CBS has canceled Don Imus' radio show, effective immediately, after uproar over his racist and sexist comments about Rutgers women's basketball team.
"From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent," said CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves, in announcing the decision.
The decision by CBS came a day after NBC Universal decided to part ways with Imus completely, thus canceling the simulcast of his show on MSNBC.
Amid the outcry over his on-air racial slur last week, shock jock Imus said Thursday that he had "apologized enough" and that he will not go on "some talk show tour."
"I'm not going to go talk to Larry King or Barbara Walters or anyone else," Imus said on his flagship station in New York, WFAN-AM, which is owned by CBS Corp. and distributes "Imus in the Morning" nationally.
"The only other people I want to talk to are these young women at the team, and then that's it," Imus said.
He was referring to the members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team, whom he described as "nappy-headed hos" the day after the team lost the NCAA championship to the University of Tennessee. (Gallery: Other controversial comments aired on Imus show)
He has repeatedly apologized for those remarks. Team members have agreed to meet with him privately, but so far no meeting has taken place.
"It gets said. Kids get hurt," he said. "At some point -- I'm not sure when -- I'm going to go talk to the team and that's all I'm interested in doing."
NBC News President Steve Capus, appearing on CNN, said Imus' comments had "touched a nerve" within the organization and firing him was "the only action we could take."
Earlier in the week, CBS Radio issued a statement announcing a two-week suspension that starts Monday.
Despite being dropped by NBC, Imus hosted his show from the MSNBC studios in New Jersey. He did not appear on TV.
"As you know, MSNBC folded up yesterday, so we're just on the radio," he said.
Imus was broadcasting his 18th annual radio charity fundraiser, which has pulled in $50 million since 1990. It ends Friday.
"This may be our last radiothon, so we need to raise $100 million dollars," Imus said, chuckling.
According to The Associated Press, Imus raised $1 million in the first five hours of Thursday's fundraiser.
The disparaging remark prompted eight companies to pull their ads from Imus' show: Staples, General Motors, Sprint Nextel, GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble, PetMed Express, American Express and Bigelow Tea.
Bruce Gordon, a member of CBS Corp.'s board of directors, has called for Imus' firing from WFAN.
Speaking Thursday on CNN's "American Morning," Gordon said that, speaking "as an African-American man in this country, Don Imus violated our community. He attacked beautiful, talented, classy women and when those women showed themselves to the country, I think that those words matched with those images made it clear to America that Don Imus was wrong."
Gordon is a former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
At a rally outside CBS's New York offices Thursday, civil rights activist Al Sharpton pressured the network to cancel Imus' morning show.
Rain cut attendance at the rally -- another has been scheduled for Saturday afternoon -- but Sharpton, joined by the father of a player on the team, spoke to the media.
"NBC has done in our judgment what is right," he said, and CBS must not be "the dam holding back the waters of insensitivity."
Sharpton said he had met with several NBC leaders and planned to meet with CBS leaders later in the day.
Linzell Vaughn, the father of sophomore center Kia Vaughn, said Imus' comments were "like a slap in the face."
"Do not disrespect our children," he said. (Players talk of hurt, seeking understanding)
Sharpton said the airways should not be used to "call children hard-core hos, nappy-headed hos. ... None of us have the right to use the public airways to express our bigotry."
Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson also spoke on Thursday afternoon outside CBS' offices and called for Imus' firing.
"This is not the first time this has happened on this show," he said, and spoke of previous Imus comments that Jackson characterized as racist and sexist.
"'Three strikes you're out' ought to apply to this position," he said.