McLean, Virginia: XM Satellite Radio suspended disc jockeys Opie and Anthony for 30 days on 15 May 2007, one week after the two aired crude sex comments about Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and Queen Elizabeth and one day after making light of the incident in their broadcast.
“Comments made by Opie and Anthony on yesterday’s broadcast put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness of the matter,” Washington-based XM said in a statement. “The management of XM Radio decided to suspend Opie and Anthony to make clear that our on-air talent must take seriously the responsibility that creative freedom requires of them.”
Opie and Anthony, who last week apologized for the sex comments, struck a more defensive tone on Monday’s broadcast. They lamented the state of radio and what they perceived as excessive reactions to comments made by themselves and other radio disc jockeys.
Opie, right, whose real name is Gregg Hughes, and Anthony Cumia, left, of the radio show “Opie & Anthony” pose for a photograph in their studio, in this Oct. 8, 2004 file photo, in New York.
“We’re under the same scrutiny as (National Public Radio) — it doesn’t make sense,” they said on Monday’s show.
The pair also expressed sympathy for former CBS Radio disc jockey Don Imus, saying his career is now “gone, just because he was trying to entertain people.”
Last month, Imus was dropped by cable network MSNBC and fired by CBS Radio for using racially offensive terms to describe the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
On May 9, Opie and Anthony, whose full names are Anthony Cumia and Greg “Opie” Hughes, aired a segment with a man they call Homeless Charlie. As the names of Rice, Bush and the queen came up, Charlie said in vulgar terms that he would like to have sex with each of them.
Opie and Anthony laughed as they imagined Rice’s “horror” while describing a violent sexual encounter in which Rice is punched in the face.
Opie and Anthony were fired in 2002 by CBS Radio after broadcasting a call from two listeners who said they were having sex in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
XM hired the pair in 2004. Because the show airs on satellite radio, it is not subject to regulation by the Federal Communications Commission.
Opie and Anthony also host a syndicated, tamer terrestrial radio program for CBS. Opie and Anthony will be on the air for that program as scheduled on 16 May, CBS Radio said.
A call to Opie and Anthony’s agent, Robert Eatman, was not immediately returned Tuesday.
An XM spokesman declined to say whether Opie and Anthony would be paid during their suspension, calling it a contractual matter.