The White House:
Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY
Published 10: 13 p.m. ET Dec. 27, 2019 | Updated 10: 53 a.m. ET Dec. 28, 2019
The “Imus in the Morning” host, who had been hospitalized in Texas since Christmas Eve, was both popular and off-putting.
Imus found himself in hot water numerous times over his half-century career, facing accusations of racism, misogyny and homophobia. But he also leaves fans who will miss his funny, familiar voice and admire his decades-long dedication to charitable work.
Imus, once named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time magazine, was an outspoken and polarizing shock jock, take it or leave it. Here are five Imus moments heard ’round the world:
The Rutgers women’s basketball debacle
Imus will forever be remembered for racially offensive comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team that led to CBS canceling his nationally syndicated radio show.
In April 2007, Imus described the players on the women’s basketball team as “rough girls” and “nappy-headed hoes.” He later apologized for the “an insensitive and ill-conceived remark” after mass backlash, saying at the time, “Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry.”
Offensive comments: Imus, who used slurs about Rutgers team, ends show
Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones controversy
In 2008, Imus found himself back in the headlines for the wrong reasons following comments about Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Adam Jones that were deemed racist.
While discussing Jones’ suspension and previous arrests on-air, Imus asked, “What color is he?” When a fellow commentator said that Jones was African American, Imus responded, “Well there you go, now we know.”
Howard Stern feud
Imus frequently sparred with fellow shock jock Howard Stern, who usurped Imus’ position as the No. 1 morning host in New York City. His vitriol descended into bigotry. During a 1984 interview, Imus used an anti-Semitic slur in a reference to Stern.
Swipes at Bill Clinton
In 1996, Imus caused a stir at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner by making several crude cracks at the expense of then-President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, who both sat nearby.
Imus joked about Clinton’s extramarital activities, among other things. He added, “We all know you’re a pot-smoking weasel.”
A White House spokesman called Imus’ bit “fairly tasteless.”
Gwen Ifill insult
In 1993, Imus dismissed esteemed journalist Gwen Ifill, an African American, as a “cleaning lady.”
Ifill, then a New York Times reporter, moved on TV journalism, serving as a co-anchor and co-managing editor of PBS NewsHour. In February 2016, she and her NewsHour co-anchor, Judy Woodruff, becoming the first female duo to moderate a Democratic presidential debate. She died later that year.
Contributing: The Associated Press; Jim Beckerman, NorthJersey.com
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