Don Imus: the shock jock who could not resist making controversial statements!

Don Imus: the shock jock who could not resist making controversial statements!

Don Imus was an American radio personality who had a controversial image. He was blunt in his talks and many labeled him as a racist, sexist, and a homophobe. Know some of his controversies.

Don Imus: the shock jock

Don Imus was an American radio host who was a shock jock. He used to make statements that were contentious. He gathered a lot of controversies on air but also managed to have a lot of fans. The most prominent of his controversial quotes was about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team  in 2007 that led to his suspension. It went like this:

Don said while commenting on the tattoos of the players:

“That’s some rough girls from Rutgers,”

Don Imus
Don Imus (Source: NPR)

Don’s executive producer, Bernard McGuirk called them “hardcore hos”. Further, Don said:

That’s some nappy-headed hos there, I’m going to tell you that.”

And Bernard said:

The two teams look like jigaboos versus the wannabes.”

He meant their differing appearances. People were angry with these remarks and demanded sacking of Don. Barack Obama was an Illinois senator at that time. He remarked:

“I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus. But I would also say that there’s nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group.”

Don apologized but also said that it was an idiot remark meant to amuse. And later on Al Sharpton’s show, Don said:

“Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far. Here’s what I’ve learned: that you can’t make fun of everybody, because some people don’t deserve it.”

He got a suspension soon after, but was reinstated after a lawsuit and meetings with prominent leaders.

Other racist remarks of Don

American broadcaster, Howard Stern, also revealed during the time of Don’s suspension that he had heard Don pass racist comments at a black female co-worker. This was when Howard and Don were working for WNBC. Further, Howard said that the management was aware of what Don said but they took no action against him. American radio host, Robin Quivers confirmed on what Howard said. She added that Don had made racist remarks against her as well.

Don Imus
Don Imus (Source: EW)

American political commentator, Joe Klein also alleged that 14 years back in the early 1990s, Don had made offensive remarks about The New York Times reporter, Gwen Ifill. In 2013, Don had said about Barack Obama:

Nelson Mandela is a leader who Barack Obama should try to emulate,”

“He could start by spending 27 years in prison.”

In 2016, he told Vanity Fair:

“My goal is to goad people into saying something that ruins their life,”

Don’s career journey, retirement, and death

Don started work in 1968 at KUTY in Palmdale, California. Three years later, he was with WNBC in New York City. WNBC fired him in 1977. Later, he joined WHK, Cleveland. But WNBC rehired him in 1979. He continued his morning talk show with WFAN that took over WNBC in 1988.

Don entered into syndicated talk show and his show Imus in the Morning aired on several channels. He retired on 29 March 2018. Regarding it, he tweeted:

March 29th, 2018, will be the last ‘Imus in the Morning Program.’ Turn out the lights…the party’s over.”

Don Imus
Don Imus (Source: Facebook)

Don had alcoholism and had undergone therapy for it during his earlier years of his career. In 2000, he had a fall from a horse leading to serious chest injuries and difficult breathing. Don had stage 2 prostate cancer in 2009 but refused conventional therapy. On 24 December 2019, he got admitted to the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in College Station, Texas and died three days later due to lung complications. He was 79 at time of his death.

David Bauder of the Associated Press reported his death with these words:

“The quote that might best serve as Imus’s epitaph is ‘I talk to millions of people every day. I just like it when they can’t talk back’.”

This statement Don had told to Vanity Fair in his 2006 interview.

Short bio on Don Imus

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