Don Imus’ former producer said Thursday that the radio exchange that got them both fired was wrong, but that it would be horrible if people could no longer poke fun at each other.
Bernard McGuirk, a 20-year producer and on-air jester for the “Imus in the Morning” program, was fired a week after his boss for the banter in which members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team were called “nappy-headed hos.”
McGuirk, in an interview on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes,” said he “didn’t get the memo” that the word “hos” had reached the level of the N-word in offensiveness. Still, apologies to the Rutgers team were appropriate, he said.
But McGuirk said he and Imus had engaged in the same locker-room humor for many years, and received pats on the back and raises from their superiors before CBS Radio fired them this time.
He sharply criticized the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the campaign to get them fired.
“It seemed like he terrorized broadcast executives,” he said. “It seemed like they were in a fetal position under their desks sucking their thumbs on their BlackBerries, trying to coordinate their response.”
The concept of “crossing the line” is hard to understand when it’s not clear where the line is, he said.
“It’s a horrible thing for this country where people can’t poke fun at each other and just joke around, have a good time, without fear of being hammered by the PC police or lose your livelihood over it,” he said.