Imus initially was given a two-week suspension, to start Monday, 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.”
Rutgers women’s basketball team spokeswoman Stacey Brann said the team did not have an immediate comment on Imus’ firing but would be issuing a statement later Thursday evening.
Time Magazine once named the cantankerous broadcaster as one of the 25 Most Influential People in America, and he was a member of the National Broadcaster Hall of Fame.
But Imus found himself at the center of a storm after his comments. Protests ensued, and one by one, sponsors pulled their ads from Imus’ show. On Wednesday, MSNBC dropped the simulcast of Imus’ show.
The Rev.and met with Moonves to advocate Imus’ removal, promising a rally outside CBS headquarters Saturday and an effort to persuade more advertisers to abandon Imus.Sumner Redstone, chairman of the CBS Corp. board and its chief stockholder, told Newsweek that he had expected Moonves to “do the right thing,” although it wasn’t clear what he thought that was.