XM Satellite Radio announced yesterday that Gregg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia, the hosts of “The Opie and Anthony Show,” will be suspended for 30 days after making vulgar and graphic rape jokes during their morning show last week. While the hosts offered an apology after the incident, comments were made during a Tuesday show that “put into question whether [the hosts] appreciate the seriousness of the matter,” XM Radio stated. The management of XM Radio then issued their decision to suspend the pair in order to “make clear that [their] on-air talent must take seriously the responsibility that creative freedom requires of them.”
Last Tuesday, Hughes and Cumia welcomed a guest known as Homeless Charlie onto their show. The hosts encouraged Charlie as he made jokes about raping Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, First Lady Laura Bush, and Queen Elizabeth. Other recent comments have also drawn criticism.
In early May, Jim Norton — who is a frequent guest — made a joke about raping a girl while whistling, an apparent reference to the film “A Clockwork Orange,” though the connection was never made on air. According to the New York Times, two advertisers — Trojan Condoms and the New York State Lottery — have already withdrawn advertising with the show.
In a statement, National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy said, “I have one message for XM Radio bigwigs who rely heavily on pay-to-listen customers, and for shock jocks everywhere: ‘Profiting from hate will cost you the business of thinking customers.'”
Hughes and Cumia’s disgraceful suspension comes just over one month after Don Imus was suspended for sexist and racist comments about the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team. According to the AP, Hughes and Cumia expressed sympathy for Imus, saying that his career is “gone, just because he was trying to entertain people.”