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Radio Host Fired for Using Racial Epithet to Describe Condi Rice

Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2006
By: Cheryl Wittenauer, Associated Press




ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis radio station quickly fired a talk show host for uttering a racial epithet as he talked about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on his morning show Wednesday.

Dave Lenihan apologized on the air immediately after making what he said was a slip of the tongue. KTRS president and general manager Tim Dorsey agreed the remark was accidental but said it was nonetheless "unacceptable, reprehensible and unforgivable."

Lenihan had been heaping praise on Rice, who has frequently said she aspires to run the NFL one day but has more recently ruled out seeking to replace retiring Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"She's been chancellor of Stanford," Lenihan said on the air. "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. Oh my God. I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that."

He said he had meant to say "coup" instead of the racial slur.

KTRS listeners soon began calling the station to complain. Twenty minutes after the utterance, Dorsey went on the air to apologize to Rice and KTRS listeners.

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

NAACP chapter president Harold Crumpton commended Dorsey for his swift action.

Reached at home, Lenihan said he was still trying to figure out what happened and was drafting a letter of apology to Rice. He said he never uses the slur he uttered and thinks Rice is "a fantastic woman."

Lenihan, formerly a drive-time host at WGNU radio in St. Louis, had been at KTRS for less than two weeks.

"It was my dream job," he said. "Ratings were going well. It kind of stinks."
 
 BLACK by NATURE, PROUD by CHOICE.
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That may have seriously have been a slip of tongue, and if it was, his employers are spineless bastards.

As a person who gets tight tongued at least once a day and manages to offend with it once every few weeks, he has my sympathies.

That is unless he's a bastard and that was some sort of Freudian slip. If that's that case, Ha, Ha!
quote:
Originally posted by ma'am:
That may have seriously have been a slip of tongue, and if it was, his employers are spineless bastards.

As a person who gets tight tongued at least once a day and manages to offend with it once every few weeks, he has my sympathies.

That is unless he's a bastard and that was some sort of Freudian slip. If that's that case, Ha, Ha!

Yeah, I am not sure if this is a fireable offense. I censure, reprimand, may be needed, but termination?

That said, I do think that the word "coon" is part of his vocabulary that he uses in private or in confidence with others. Otherwise, it would not have been so "ready to hand" for his mouth to utter. It is not that common of a saying for one, and psychologically the context in which it arose is revealing.
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
Yeah, I am not sure if this is a fireable offense. I censure, reprimand, may be needed, but termination?

I doubt he would have been fired if he had been speaking about Black folks in general. But, he was talking about Condi. Even concervatives would be up in arms about that. Condi's not a "coon". She represents "equality" in America. She's not like "the rest of them". She's a walking, talking example that there is no more racism in America. Right?

Right... Roll Eyes

This story reminds me of how Howard Cosel was fired for saying "Look at that monkey run!" on the air during a football game.

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