Michael Crawford

20 Million Dollars for "Nappy Headed Hos"

Filed By Michael Crawford | August 14, 2007 8:32 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: media, Race

How much is the phrase "nappy headed hos" worth? Well, if you are well-known racist shock jock Don Imus, its worth $20,000,000.

That's how much The Drudge Report is saying that Imus will recieve in a settlement with CBS after the company fired him for making derogatory comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team on his radio and television shows. Check out the video clip below for a reminder of what Imus said.

Not only will Imus get millions of dollars, he is also expected to sign a new contract for a new radio program. Among the rumored suitors is Sirius Satellite Radio.

A Sirius spokesman declined comment on Tuesday, but CEO Mel Karmazin, a former top executive at CBS, told Fox News Channel last week: "The fact that he had been fired wouldn't stop me from having Don work for me again. He makes you a lot of money."

Despite the negative publicity, Imus is capable of generating tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue a year through high ratings, experts say.

I wish that I could say that I'm surprised that Imus will sometime soon sign a new multi-million dollar contract, but I'm not. There's serious money to be made from Imus' brand of racist, sexist and homophobic bigotry and the corporate media can't seem to quit him.

More here.

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I am just going to Jen's post on this too for the same comment: It doesn't bother me that he's getting paid so much money from CBS honestly. They had a contract with him that they broke the terms of. When that happens in our country, you get to sue. He did. Period.

The part that irritates me is that someone is willing to give him another job. That's the kick in the teeth. But, you know, how well did Mel Gibson's movie do?

I have to admit that as someone who hosts a talk radio show myself, I have very mixed feelings here. The issue isn't whether what Imus said was bigoted or offensive. Obviously, it clearly was both. The issue for me is that this man lost his job because someone said something some people found offensive and they complained publicly until he lost his job.

In talk radio, or in any kind of strongly opinionated media really, there's always going to be someone who's offended by what you have to say. In Imus' case, it was the progressive left, in the person of Al Sharpton, that attacked and won the battle, but what if it's one of us next time?

It gets down to the basic issue of freedom of the speech. It has to protect everyone or it protects no one. Given how many in this country find us and what we have to say offensive, it's certainly possible, perhaps even likely, that someone speaking on behalf of the values we believe in will be the target next time.

There's also the issue of money. Talk radio is a business like any other, and the main concern is presenting programming that will turn the greatest profit. Michael Savage is a disgusting hatemonger, but the fact that he's also the third most listened-to talk show host in the country will keep him on the air unless and until he becomes a financial liability to his employers. We can try doing a "Dr. Laura" on him, but unless we can make him so disliked that his sponsors get scared and pull out, he'll continue to be able to spew his hate, as long as those high ad revenues his show generates continue to roll into the stations which carry his show.

Frankly, I wouldn't worry about Imus. Compared to Savage, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh, he's pretty small potatoes. The real thing we need to concern ourselves with is what happens next time and how it impacts the ability of all of us to speak out about what we believe in.

Jen Jorczak | August 15, 2007 9:22 AM

Bil: our litigious society is one of the things I'm talking about here...

Rebecca: There's free speech and then there's free speech...

I don't want to speak for Michael, but the points I was trying to make in my outrage over this particular $20 million have to do with where we are as a culture, as a nation. CBS firing Imus was a business decision--in the end, they thought the public outcry was costing them more than the show was bringing in, otherwise they wouldn't have fired him, just as Rebecca points out that Hannity, et al., still have jobs.

But CBS fired Imus, because the talk he had talked was not the kind of talk they'd hired him for. I'm not a lawyer, and I have not read what I'm sure was a very thick contract, but I kind of doubt CBS' legal team let him have an "I get to be a racist sexist idiot" clause.

And in a world where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, the fact that he gets $20 million for being a racist, sexist idiot really burns me.

Incidentally, Bil, I heard on the radio this morning that the basketball team's center is going to sue Imus for defaming her character. I hope she gets a nice chunk of that money, and that she uses some of it to fund the Southern Poverty Law Center or a similar anti-hate-group organization.

There is a definite segment of the country that wants to hear the racist, sexist and homophobic drivel spewed by shock jocks like Imus, Limbaugh etc. There is money to be made there and media companies are more than willing to give Imus etc a platform as long as they bring in the dough. I wish it were different, but its not.

Imus had a specific clause in his contract that said if something like this happened he'd be given a warning or be suspended from his job and then he'd get fired if the behavior continued. Instead he was just fired - after public outcry, of course. While CBS did what they thought they had to do, unfortunately they did break the terms of their contract with him. Therefore, they had to pay up...