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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
MSNBC drops race row disc jockey
DJ Don Imus appears on the Rev Al Sharpton's show
"Shock-jock" Don Imus has made several public apologies
US cable TV company MSNBC has dropped its simulcast of disc jockey Don Imus's morning radio show as the furore over his use of racist language continues.

Several major companies have already pulled their advertising from the Imus in the Morning programme as calls for the dismissal of the "shock jock" grow.

CBS Radio, the show's distributor and owner, has suspended it for two weeks.

Mr Imus called the mostly black members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos".

"Ho" is slang for prostitute and "nappy-headed" is a derogatory term for the hair of many black people.

No final decision

Mr Imus has a history of making controversial comments. His show is also known for attracting prominent guests, some of whom have said they will not appear again.

NBC News head Steve Capus said: "I take him at his word that he is not a racist. But those were racist comments and there should not be a place for that on MSNBC."

Imus's bigoted remarks are indicative of the entrenched racism found throughout the corporate news and entertainment media in the United States
Viola Plummer

NBC is the parent company of MSNBC.

CBS Radio has said it has not yet made a final decision on the programme's fate.

A growing number of major companies have pulled their advertising, including American Express, Procter and Gamble, and General Motors.

'Entrenched racism'

Groups including the National Organization for Women and the National Association of Black Journalists have called for the DJ's resignation.

Civil rights leaders the Rev Jesse Jackson and the Rev Al Sharpton have also demanded his dismissal.

"None of us has the right to use the public airways in the way that Mr Imus has done," Rev Sharpton told a protest outside NBC's New York offices on Wednesday.

Members of the Rutgers team at a press conference
Members of the Rutgers team say they are hurt by Mr Imus's remarks
A group of black women demonstrating outside New York's City Hall on Wednesday also called for his dismissal.

"Imus's bigoted remarks are indicative of the entrenched racism found throughout the corporate news and entertainment media in the United States," said Viola Plummer, an aide to New York Councillor Charles Barron.

The 10 members of the Rutgers team - eight of whom are black - have spoken of their hurt over the "insensitive" comments Mr Imus made in his 4 April show.

The team has agreed to meet privately with Mr Imus to hear his explanation.

"He needs to know who these young ladies were that he hurt," coach C Vivian Stringer said.

Mr Imus has already made several public apologies, including on his Imus in the Morning show on Monday, when he said he was "a good person who said something bad".

Even if his show continues after his suspension, there are doubts he will be able to continue to attract big political names to his show.

Democratic White House contender Senator Barack Obama said he has "no intention of returning".

Mr Imus's show is worth about $15m (7.6m) annually to CBS through advertising and syndication fees, said Associated Press news agency.

It had about 3.5 million listeners a week in 2005, according to media research, and the MSNBC simulcast was estimated to draw about 330,000 viewers per week.


SEE ALSO
Race row US DJ loses advertisers
11 Apr 07 |  Americas
US DJ suspended over racist slur
10 Apr 07 |  Americas
Jackson demands racial slur ban
28 Nov 06 |  Entertainment

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