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."