On a May 9 broadcast of the Opie & Anthony Show on XM Satellite Radio, the show’s hosts (whose real names are Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia), welcomed a guest they called Homeless Charlie, who said he would like to rape U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, First Lady Laura Bush, and even Queen Elizabeth. In the broadcast, Hughes and Cumia clearly encouraged the guest’s horrifying remarks – they laughed and imagined “the horror” on Rice’s face as she is held down and punched in the face.
The language is too hostile to repeat, but any woman who hears the clip will be seething at the misogynistic diatribe. Both hosts knew what they were doing when they treated assault and rape as a joke.
Didn’t we just go through this – with former CBS radio host Don Imus and his hateful words about the women’s basketball team at Rutgers University? And JV and Elvis’ cruel racism and sexism at the expense of Chinese restaurant employees on CBS radio station WFNY? At least CBS got the message that no one is entitled to a media platform for hate speech.
On May 11, Hughes and Cumia apologized, saying: “We take very seriously the responsibility that comes with out creative freedom and regret any offense that this segment has caused.” XM Satellite is clearly concerned, saying that they “deplore the comments” made on the show. CBS, which airs a different Opie & Anthony Show, should be concerned as well, because this kind of “joke” from CBS hosts also reflects on the network.
I have one message for XM Radio bigwigs who rely heavily on pay-to-listen customers, and for shock jocks everywhere: “Profiting from hate will cost you the business of thinking consumers.”