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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 00:44 GMT 01:44 UK
CBS fires racism row radio host
DJ Don Imus appears on the Rev Al Sharpton's show
"Shock-jock" Don Imus has made several public apologies
US television and radio network CBS has fired broadcaster Don Imus after an explosive row over his use of racist language on his radio programme.

The move came just hours after Mr Imus broadcast his last show on Thursday.

Several companies had cancelled their advertising contracts on his Morning programme and high-profile guests said they would no longer appear.

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.

Immediate effect

CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves said he had been disgusted by the comments.

"From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and repulsed by the statements that were made on our air," he said.

Members of the Rutgers team at a press conference
Members of the Rutgers team say they were hurt by Mr Imus' remarks
"There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of colour trying to make their way in this society," he added.

CBS said the cancellation of Mr Imus' contract, which follows a two-week suspension, would take place with immediate effect.

Earlier on Thursday, the CBS head held meetings with civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton who had demanded that Mr Imus be sacked.

A day earlier, US cable TV company MSNBC said it was dropping its simulcast of Mr Imus' programme as calls for the dismissal of the "shock jock" grew.

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

Democratic presidential contender Senator Barack Obama was among those who vowed to never again take part in the programme.

American Express, Procter and Gamble, and General Motors all decided to cancel advertising on the programme.

'Insensitive' comments

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

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.

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".

In his last broadcast, on Thursday, Mr Imus admitted his comments had been "really stupid".

Mr Imus' show was 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.

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