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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 16:03 GMT
DJ sacked for Rice racial slur
Dave Lenihan. File photo
Lenihan had been working at KTRS for less than two weeks
A US radio talk show host has been sacked for using a racial slur to describe US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Dave Lenihan used the word "coon" while presenting a live programme on KTRS radio in St Louis, Missouri.

He apologised immediately, saying it was a slip of the tongue and he meant to say "coup".

The boss of KTRS agreed the remark was accidental but said it was nonetheless "unacceptable and unforgivable".

'Fantastic woman'

Lenihan used the abusive word while arguing live on air that Ms Rice deserved to become the next boss of America's National Football League.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. File photo
Lenihan is reportedly writing a letter of apology to Ms Rice

"She's got the patent resume of somebody that has serious skill. She loves football. She's African-American, which would kind of be a big coon. A big coon," he said.

After realising that he used a racial slur, Lenihan apologised immediately: "Oh my God. I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that."

Listeners soon began calling the radio station to voice their complaints.

About 20 minutes later, KTRS boss Tim Dorsey went live on air to apologise to Ms Rice and to listeners.

"There can be no excuse for what was said. Dave Lenihan has been let go. ... There is enough hate. We certainly are not going to fan those flames," Mr Dorsey said.

Lenihan - who had been working for KTRS for less than two weeks - later said he was preparing a letter of apology to Ms Rice, according to the Associated Press news agency.

He described Ms Rice as "a fantastic woman".

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