In media-related news this week, MSNBC talk show host Ed Schultz, host of “The Ed Show,” was suspended for a week without pay after calling conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut” and a “talk slut” on his radio program.
MSNBC released a statement quoted by news sources saying, “Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” The statement did suggest that management had allowed him to decide on his punishment, noting after a meeting with Schultz they had “accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave.”
Schultz issued an apology on Wednesday on air before handing his show over to the fill-in host. In his comments, he acknowledged that his words were “vile and inappropriate.” He said, “It was wrong, uncalled-for and I recognize the severity of what I said.”
On her radio show Thursday, Ingraham accepted his apology, noting that “It seemed heartfelt.”
The Women’s Media Center started a Change.org petition calling for Schultz suspension. It received nearly 500 signatures before his suspension was announced. According to the Change.org release, Schultz and MSNBC have agreed to meet with the organization to discuss the issue.
While the Women’s Media Center acknowledged that it doesn’t always see eye to eye with Ingraham, the language used undermined all women. In its action alert, the group stated, “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.”
Some commentators and news sites noted this isn’t the first time an MSNBC host has come under fire for sexist comments. Chris Matthews eventually apologized for his coverage of Hillary Clinton with comments calling her (among other things) a “she-devil.” David Shuster received a suspension after he referred to Chelsea Clinton being “pimped out” by the campaign.
In an opinion for The Guardian, Melissa McEwan notes that hosts tend to get in trouble for overt sexism, like directly calling a woman a “slut” but not for those comments that are more covert creating a “just don’t get caught” mentality.
This is the Gender Report’s Week in Review, a weekly post that highlights some of the major stories related to gender issues this week. Some of these stories may have already appeared in our News Feed or in the week’s Gender Checks. We’ll at times include a longer analysis of stories as well as bring attention to stories that may have slipped through the cracks of the week’s news cycle.