We haven't exactly been eager to dive into the Don Imus controversy that has erupted since some ugly words regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team slipped from the dessicated radio host's slackened jaw. We can no longer avoid it, however, now that a reader has forwarded us an internal missive from reigning NBC Universal oligarch Jeff Zucker, explaining, with heavy Golden Boy heart, the thought process that led to the dismantling of Imus's MSNBC talk show and expulsion from the General Electric kingdom. It's not the kind of letter a chief executive ever wants to have to compose, but let's face it—these things happen, and not every every company-wide correspondence can begin with a horn-tooting intro like, "Please join us for an afternoon ice cream social in the lobby to celebrate Heroes landing at #1 in the 18-49 demo AGAIN, folks!" The e-mail, and NBC Universal's official statement, is after the jump:
Over the past several days, we have had to grapple with an incredibly difficult and sensitive issue. After our announcement of the suspension of Don Imus, we have had ongoing discussions with a number of employees and employee groups within our business. The result of these discussions has been very clear. NBC Universal has a strong reputation for integrity and our employees value that integrity tremendously.
Those conversations have led to the decision Steve Capus and I made today. We are canceling the "Imus in the Morning" program from the MSNBC lineup.
I wanted you to see the following statement, which was released moments ago.
STATEMENT FROM NBC NEWS
Effective immediately, MSNBC will no longer simulcast the "Imus in the Morning" radio program. This decision comes as a result of an ongoing review process, which initially included the announcement of a suspension. It also takes into account many conversations with our own employees. What matters to us most is that the men and women of NBC Universal have confidence in the values we have set for this company. This is the only decision that makes that possible. Once again, we apologize to the women of the Rutgers basketball team and to our viewers. We deeply regret the pain this incident has caused.