Ed Schultz suspended from MSNBC after calling Laura Ingraham a ‘right wing slut’

May 26, 2011

MSNBC suspended host Ed Schultz for a week on Wednesday after Schultz called rival pundit Laura Ingraham “a right-wing slut” during a radio broadcast teh day before. Paul Farhi reports:

Schultz apologized for the comment on his TV program, “The Ed Show,” on Wednesday night, saying he had used “vile and inappropriate language” in referring to Ingraham. “I am deeply sorry, and I apologize,” he said. “It was wrong, uncalled for, and I recognize the severity of what I said. I apologize to you, Laura, and ask for your forgiveness.”

Schultz’s slur was a response to Ingraham’s criticism of President Obama’s trip to Ireland. Ingraham had noted that Obama was touring Ireland while devastating tornadoes were hitting the United States, including one that killed 116 people in Joplin, Mo.

“President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, but you know what [Republicans are] talking about, like this right-wing slut, what’s her name? Laura Ingraham?” Schultz said on the air. “Yeah, she’s a talk slut. You see, she was, back in the day, praising President Reagan when he was drinking a beer overseas. But now that Obama’s doing it, they’re working him over.”

In his apology, Schultz said: “It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were. It doesn’t matter that I was on radio and I was ad-libbing. None of that matters. What matters is what I said was terribly vile and not of the standards that I or any other person should adhere to. ... I want all of you to know tonight that I did call Laura Ingraham today and did not make contact with her, and I will apologize to her as I did in the message that I left for her today.”


Ed Schultz and Laura Ingraham. (Tom Williams/Roll Call; Paul Morigi/WireImage/Roll Call/Wire Image)

Schultz said he offered to take himself off MSNBC “for an indefinite period of time with no pay.”

On her Facebook page Ingraham wrote, “Now I’m tempted to insert one additional zing ... about men who preach civility but practice misogyny.”

Opinion writer Alexandra Petri says there are serious implications of Schultz’s use of the word ‘slut’. She writes:

Slut is not a gender-neutral term, yet. In spite of all the Slut Walks proclaiming that You Can Do What You Want And Wear What You Want And Society Shall Not Label You — which, really, didn’t anyone think this through beforehand? (“We’re going on a slut walk,” you say. “Oh, that’s nice,” your employer says. “Boy, when you bring them home, you really have no sense of the amount of care, feeding, and walking that’s required.”)

But in defense of the walks, there’s got to be some way to drive the point home. So far, it’s not working: If this is a misogynistic term, then it’s a term that’s somehow reserved for women. And that’s a deeply misogynistic thought.

This term is either used too much or not enough, depending upon whom you ask. I’d be fine with tossing it around with wild abandon if we called men like Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Edwards sluts as well. Their behavior merits the term! But generally when it gets flung at men, there’s “man-” appended to it. Slut? Must be female. There’s no equally fraught term for a man who, er, bed-hops. Bed hops just sounds like a fun party activity — which, admittedly, it might be, in certain circles. And that’s wrong.

“But Ingraham and Ann Coulter both have this strange blonde-conservative-women-who-are-definitely-wearing-heels thing going on!” you cry. “Doesn’t that entitle me to --”

No, of course not.

And even were the word [is] cut free of the misogynistic baggage, it doesn’t belong in the context of civilized political discourse — or what passes for it on the Ed Schultz Show.

If you are attacking someone’s politics, no need to be ad hominem, or ad womanem. Just make your case.

Schultz has promised never to use the word ‘slut’ again. The Reliable Source reports:

[Schultz] said he had tried unsuccessfully to reach Ingraham to apologize personally. “I have embarrassed my family. I have embarrassed this company,” he said. “The only way I can prove my sincerity in all of this is if I never use those words again. You have my word I won’t.”

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