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Imus Reportedly Plans To Sue CBS

  People in the News  -   POSTED: 2007/05/04 10:29

Former high-profile radio host Don Imus reportedly is preparing to sue his former employer, CBS Radio, over his firing last month. At stake is $40 million, reports said. Fortune magazine says Imus has hired a top First Amendment attorney, because, according to a source who has read Imus' contract with CBS, the pact encouraged the shock-jock to be irreverent and make character attacks.

"Company (CBS Radio) acknowledges that Artist's (Imus') services to be rendered hereunder are of a unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial and personal character," reads the contract, according to CNN.com.

CBS Radio spokeswoman Karen Mateo declined to comment to CBSNews.com on either the possibility of a lawsuit or the contract language.

Imus was fired April 12 from the syndicated radio show that he had hosted for nearly 30 years, a day after MSNBC said it would no longer televise it. Imus' description of the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" set off a national debate about taste and tolerance.

Imus made the remark on April 4, the day after the Rutgers team lost in the national championship game. He subsequently met with and apologized to team members for about three hours at the governor's mansion in Princeton, N.J.

Attorney Martin Garbus confirmed to CNN that he has agreed to represent Imus, and said he plans to file an action against CBS in the near future.

CBS' attorneys, according to Fortune, maintain that Imus was fired for cause, and therefore is not owed any further payments on the five-year $10 million-a-year contract he signed in 2006.

But the source tells Fortune that the contract not only encouraged Imus to skate on the edge of taste, but stipulated that he be given a warning before he could be fired.

On the other hand, the contract may also say that Imus had to obey Federal Communications Commission rules for broadcasters, including a prohibition of profanity. The FCC defines profanity as language that is "grossly offensive" to the people who hear it.


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