It takes a lot to move the needle in the angry, angry world of talk radio, but Ed Schultz did just that when he referred to fellow host Laura Ingraham as a “right-wing slut” and “talk slut” on his syndicated show Tuesday. The Internet rose up in revolt Wednesday but thus far no comment from lefty host, who also has an MSNBC show. Ingraham, via Facebook, quipped she “was surprised to learn that Ed Schultz actually hosted a radio show” and tut-tutted about “men who preach civility but practice misogyny.”
UPDATED 7 p.m.: Schultz suspended from MSNBC for a week. In a statement just released from the cable channel: “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.”
Someone might mention to the brass at MSNBC that the sex positive feminists have reclaimed the word "slut",
Women’s groups normally inclined to line up behind conservative talk radio hosts reacted angrily to Schulltz’s comments. The Women’s Media Center, the nonprofit founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem, sent out an alert urging MSNBC to suspend Schultz.
“While conservative bloggers and watchdog organizations are highlighting Schultz’s remark, the Women’s Media Center also calls on MSNBC to suspend Schultz for his comments, since they not only attack Ingraham, but all women,” the group wrote in an alert Wednesday, according to the Daily Caller. “Ms. Ingraham is no friend to the Women’s Media Center, but a sexist and misogynist attack based on her gender and not her political views or comments is harmful to women in media, politics, and beyond.”
At Media Matters, we've long fought against sexism in the media. Along with conservative hosts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, we've also criticized Newsweek and David Shuster.
Ed Schultz is an important voice in the progressive community, and no host has done more to stand up for working Americans. However, being progressive means recognizing that Ingraham -- no matter how much we disagree with her views -- deserves to have her commentary evaluated on its merits and should not be attacked with sexist language.
Ed Schultz did not host his show tonight, but he did open it with an earnest and at times emotional address to his viewers apologizing for embarrassing the network by calling Laura Ingraham a ‘slut.’
“On my radio show yesterday, I used vile and inappropriate language with talking about talk show host Laura Ingraham. I am deeply sorry, and I apologize,” he said. “It was wrong, uncalled-for and I apologize for the severity of what I’ve said.”
He also apologized to Ingraham directly, saying “it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are…what matters is, what I said was terribly vile” and not to the standards he normally holds himself to.
He said he tried to call Ingraham directly to apologize, but she wasn’t around, so he left a message with his apology. He also met with MSNBC management and offered to take himself off the air “for an indefinite period of time.”
Earlier this evening, MSNBC said Schultz would be off the air for a week, though Schultz made no mention of the timeframe in his remarks.
A visibly shaken Schultz choked up at times, calling this moment the “the lowest of the low for me.”
“I have embarrassed my family. I have embarrassed this company,” he said, a remark that New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman took as an indication of new MSNBC parent Comcast’s possibly laying down the law.
“I have never been in this position before, to the point where it has affected so many people, and I know that I have let a lot of people down,” he said.