From the big man, CBS honcho Les Moonves himself:
To: All Employees
From: Leslie Moonves
Date: April 12, 2007
I want to inform you that we have decided to cease broadcasting the Imus in the Morning radio program, effective immediately, on a permanent basis.
We reach this decision after a period of thought, discussion, listening to you, and the pursuit of due process in this painful matter. From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent. While we have already made our disappointment and outrage clear, I would like to take the opportunity to offer my personal apologies to the Rutgers team, its impressive Coach, and the entire Athletic Department and Administration of Rutgers University. CBS has nothing but the highest regard for that establishment and its students, and we are sorry that offense was given in such a brutal and insensitive manner.
I would also like to extend an apology to everyone beyond Rutgers. Those who have spoken with us the last few days represent people of goodwill from all segments of our society - all races, economic groups, men and women alike. In our meetings with concerned groups, there has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society. That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision, as have the many emails, phone calls and personal discussions we have had with our colleagues across the CBS Corporation and our many other constituencies.
At the same time, we wanted to take the time necessary to listen to the many diverse voices that were raised on this issue. In so doing, we have been trying, as best as is possible in such a complex and emotional environment, to determine what is, indeed, the right thing to do. I believe that in taking this action, we are doing the right thing.
Many of you have come forward during this past week to share your thoughts and feelings. I thank you for that. At the end of the day, the integrity of our Company and the respect that you feel for CBS becomes the most important consideration.
One thing is for certain: This is about a lot more than Imus. As has been widely pointed out, Imus has been visited by Presidents, Senators, important authors and journalists from across the political spectrum. He has flourished in a culture that permits a certain level of objectionable expression that hurts and demeans a wide range of people. In taking him off the air, I believe we take an important and necessary step not just in solving a unique problem, but in changing that culture, which extends far beyond the walls of our Company.
I want to thank all those who came to see us to express their views. We are now presented with a significant opportunity to expand on our record on issues of diversity, race and gender. We intend to seize that opportunity as we move forward together.