April 11, 2007
To: Don Imus,
On April 4, 2007 you referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team in racist misogynistic terms on your "Imus in the Morning" radio show.
Families United Against Hate works with victims, families and communities impacted by bias incidents. We know all too well that hate speech lets people see others as less than human and gives people permission to commit acts of violence against others.
We are aware that some people have called for you to be fired, and we believe they have a right to ask for that. You have made a living as a "shock jock" using racist, misogynistic and homophobic language. You make money doing this, and the stations that carry your show are also responsible, as they make money on you doing this.
Shame on you all.
We completely understand and applaud the advertisers who are pulling their advertising from your show. Why would any company want to be associated with financially supporting the kind of thing you have done?
Two days after that incident you stated: "I want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team, which lost to Tennessee in the NCAA championship game on Tuesday. It was completely inappropriate and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry."
Then on April 9th when you appeared on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio talk show you said, "Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far. Here's what I've learned: that you can't make fun of everybody, because some people don't deserve it."
You have stated that you are not a bad person. We have heard that you have run a radio-thon in New York that has raised million of dollars to benefit the Tomorrows Children Fund, the CJ Foundation for SIDS, and the Imus Ranch for children with cancer.
All of this is good. But it does not excuse what you did on April 4th, or all the bigoted things you have said before that. Because you are a public figure you are in a position of great responsibility to be a role model.
If you mean that you are sorry then it is your responsibility to prove it every day - if you are retained in your job or are fired. You will need to change the whole style of your show and no longer use hateful 'shock' humor to degrade any person for any reason. In addition you should work to end the use of this kind of bigoted language in any kind of comedy and any kind of entertainment for one simple reason.
It's not funny, Mr. Imus
CBS Radio; 1515 Broadway; New York, NY 10036
FAMILIES UNITED AGAINST HATE (FUAH) is a nonprofit grassroots organization created by and for families and survivors of hate motivated violence, in collaboration with other individuals and organizations. We offer support, guidance and assistance to families* and individuals dealing with incidents based on bias; and to the people, organizations and agencies who serve and support them.