November 06, 2015
“Racist Rant Shelves Shock Jock,” screamed the front page of New York’s Daily News in July of last year. Anthony Cumia was fired from his twenty-year gig with The Opie & Anthony Show. He had been attacked by a gigantic black woman for taking her picture and was subsequently approached by a mob of black men. He had a gun on him but managed to bark them all away without brandishing it. He later tweeted hurtful comments such as “It’s a jungle in our cities after midnight” and “Violent savages own our streets.” It is and they do.
Sirius cut the cord within days and blamed the tweets. Anthony’s partner of twenty years, Gregg “Opie” Hughes, said nothing. He didn”t even contact Cumia. I believe Sirius was looking for a way to get rid of Anthony and it had nothing to do with politics. I think it was about money. When someone’s salary is upwards of $3 million a year, the accountants see a really fast and easy way to increase the net. You fire the guy and give the other two hosts $500K each, and you still have another $2 million added to the bottom line (accountants don”t value talent because they”re often autistic). When you can do this while appearing to be a civil rights crusader, it’s a win-win. This is what I hate about all these PC pussies calling for people’s heads. They are being used by big business to justify shady deals. I”m convinced the same thing happened to me. When we sold our ad agency Rooster NY to Havas Worldwide, they figured they paid too much. After Internet outrage was generated from my transphobic views, it created an opportunity to get rid of us without looking stupid. Ideally, the scapegoat disappears into obscurity after that and you”ve tied up some loose ends without repercussions.
Unfortunately for Sirius, it didn”t work like that. First there was the boycott where Sirius customers very publicly canceled their subscriptions. The exodus was so huge, many conjectured the whole deal became a net loss. The second blow was Anthony’s attitude about the whole thing. Many assumed he would go the way of the dodo bird as Michael Richards did when he said, “Fuck you, nigger” back in 2006, but Anthony is a wop and they tend to be as resilient as N-words (possibly because they share so much DNA). Cumia was already doing his own podcast from his house in a drunken rant known as Live From the Compound, so he made that his new full-time job. Within a few weeks, he had hired a complete staff including an old intern from Opie & Anthony and a regular caller known as Keith the Cop. The show became The Anthony Cumia Show and they charged $6.95 a month for subscriptions. Within one month of his termination, tens of thousands of subscribers appeared and Anthony maintained his ridiculous salary”only this time there were no strings attached. I don”t think Opie was ever funny, and listening to him riff with Anthony and cohost Jimmy Norton was like hearing two funny guys swim in the joke pool with a dead anvil around their necks. I nicknamed Opie “torpid sloth” for this and it stuck. Humor is subjective, but from where I sit, Cumia sounded a lot happier when he wasn”t constantly “walking on Gregshells.” Corporate America has been infected with the Thought Police virus, and even satellite radio, which sold itself as the last bastion of free speech, is constantly second-guessing itself and telling its hosts what can and cannot be construed as offensive. The Anthony Cumia Show sold itself as an apology-free zone and the fans loved it.
As this reboot launched, Cumia doubled down and went on a press tour. On Fox News” Red Eye he was told he shouldn”t have made those comments on Twitter, to which he shrugged and responded, “I was pissed.” The Social Justice Warriors got no remorse so their crusade dried up. That’s all it takes. In Jon Ronson’s book So You”ve Been Publicly Shamed we learn about people who have had their lives ruined for one seemingly irrelevant scandal. Usually it’s a tweet or a quiet comment not meant for more than one person. A game developer knows as “mr-hank” lost his job for whispering a dongle joke to a friend. The woman who exposed him lost her job in the backlash (he’s now employed, she isn”t). There’s also poor Justine Sacco, who made an AIDS joke the Internet deemed offensive. This was back in 2013 and she’s still trying to piece her life together despite a litany of apologies. The most interesting case in Ronson’s book is that of Formula One mogul Max Mosley. He was allegedly caught attending an S&M sex session with prostitutes dressed as Nazis. Instead of apologizing or hiding, his response was “I can think of few things more un-erotic than Nazi role play.” He didn”t deny the encounter. He just clarified the details. They were Germans, not Nazis. He then sued News of the World and won. As far as Ronson is concerned, Mosley beat the system. He refused to kowtow and told the mob they were the ones who should be ashamed, so they just moved on. It’s like that scene in the new War of the Worlds where Tom Cruise aims a mirror at the probe and it immediately continues the hunt elsewhere. All you have to do to avoid the stigma of violating the commandments of political correctness is fight back.
This is true to a fault. Mattress girl was not raped. Vanessa Grigoriadis, who wrote the cover story on her for New York mag, screwed up. However, neither of them apologized or admitted any wrongdoing, so they both got away with murder, well, rape, well, fake rape. Sabrina Erdely and Rolling Stone apologized for their fake rape story and were permanently humiliated for it. When Rachel Dolezal was caught pretending to be black, she cowered and everyone laughed. Shaun King screamed that “it’s MY STORY” when he was caught and everyone went, “Oh shit, this is his story. We better back off.” Today Rachel works as a hairstylist and Shaun has a regular column in the Daily News.
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