Don Imus took his controversial, boundary-pushing shock jock routine too far when he used the term “nappy headed ho’s” to describe the African-American players on the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team. Imus met with the team and apologized, saying it was “some idiot comment meant to be amusing.” But no one was amused.
Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Snoop Dogg all spoke out about the remark. Jackson even led a protest outside Chicago’s NBC Tower, giving the network an ultimatum: “NBC must choose between Imus and the rest of us!” he proclaimed, referring to Imus’s MSNBC talk show. And so Imus lost the TV gig — along with 1.6 million loyal listeners to his CBS radio show Imus in the Morning, which was also cancelled.
A mere nine months after the scandal, however, Imus made a five-year deal with RFD-TV and was back on the air. In April 2008, Reverend Jackson was a guest on Imus’s new show, and it appeared the healing process was complete. Until, two months later, Imus again uttered racially insensitive rhetoric when discussing NFL player Adam “Pacman” Jones, who has been arrested six times. Imus asked, “What color is he?” When told he was African-American, Imus replied: “Well there you go, now we know.”