The Reverend Al Sharpton has been at the forefront of civil rights issues for decades. He agrees that firing Imus—whom he calls a "repeat offender"—was the right decision. "He has done this before, apologized before, which is why we said, 'No, a suspension wouldn't work,'" Rev. Sharpton says.
Rev. Sharpton says Imus's firing shows that people will be held responsible for what they say. "I think that the accountability has to spread whether it's blacks saying it, whether it's whites saying it, whether it's Latinos saying it," he says. "We need to set a standard of what's acceptable."
While Imus's comment has put a national spotlight on the issue, Rev. Sharpton says the fight against negative depictions of women has been happening for years. "I think that some of us have been concerned about this misogyny and this self-hate … in the airwaves and in music and in culture for a long time," he says. "I mean, we've marched on blacks that have had shows with the n-word and have gone after advertisers. … I think now we're getting some attention.
"We're also going to work with those in the industry that want to talk and do something about it and artists who have said, 'I can't get a contract because I won't say 'ho,' I won't say 'bitch,' I won't do violence,'" he says.