As punishment for describing Laura Ingraham as a "slut" on his radio show yesterday, MSNBC has suspended Ed Schultz for one week without pay. Schultz kicked off his show tonight with an unusually heartfelt apology, then handed the program over to Thomas Roberts.
Yesterday, Schultz said:
"President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Mo., on Sunday but you know what they're talking about, like this right-wing slut, what's her name?, Laura Ingraham?" he said on his radio show. "Yeah, she's a talk slut. You see, she was, back in the day, praising President Reagan when he was drinking a beer overseas. But now that Obama's doing it, they're working him over."
MSNBC released this statement:
"MSNBC management met with Ed Schultz this afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave for the remarks he made yesterday on his radio program ... Ed will address these remarks on his show tonight, and immediately following begin his leave. Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
Schultz's remarks from tonight's broadcast is posted above. Earlier today, Ingraham wrote on Facebook,
Re. the crude comments made about me by Ed Schultz on his radio program: First, I was surprised to learn that Ed Schultz actually hosted a radio show. Is it only available online? Second, I have to get back to recording the audio edition of my new book "Of Thee I Zing." Now I'm tempted to insert one additional zing—about men who preach civility but practice misogyny.
After MSNBC announced the suspension, she Tweeted: "MSNBC suspends Schultz. Oh great, now his ratings will go up." So we take it she doesn't accept his apology?
Today the Women's Media Center, which had pushed for MSNBC to discipline Schultz, announced that Schultz and the network have agreed to meet with the organization to discuss how to prevent the degrading language from being used again. WMC President Julie Burton added:
"When you demean one woman, you demean all women. Anti-women slurs and epithets are beyond inappropriate - they harm women. Laura Ingram is no friend to women, and while we disagree with many of her views, the type of language Ed Schultz used, whether accidentally or on purpose, has the effect of legitimizing sexism and undermines the credibility of all women. Two wrongs don't make a right."
While using "slut" to describe women you disagree with politically is indeed "vile," Schultz and the network deserve credit for quickly condemning the remarks, even though they were made on the radio. Quite a few male commentators have made sexist quips, from Chris Matthews to Don Imus, but it usually takes them longer to apologize, and their responses seem more coerced. We'd like to get to the point where male media personalities aren't routinely spewing misogyny, but for now it seems a swift apology and acknowledgement of wrongdoing are the best we're going to get.
MSNBC Suspends Ed Schultz For "Unacceptable" Comments [NBC]
Response To Ed Schultz [Facebook]