Imus to Sue CBS, Contract Called for 'Irreverent' and 'Controversial' Programming

CBS Radio might be about to get a very expensive lesson in contract law, for terminated former “shock-jock” Don Imus has just hired topnotch legal counsel in what could be the most-watched trial since O.J. Simpson’s.

As reported by Hollywood Today (h/t Glenn Reynolds, emphasis added throughout):

Don Imus is suing CBS Radio for more than $40 million. He is suing for vindication, according to a media expert, who said “(Imus) wants his name cleared.”

The former talk show host hired one of the country’s top First Amendment trial lawyers to sue CBS for firing him over racial and sexual on-air comments. But Imus points out his contract calls for “irreverent” and “controversial,” and his “nappy-headed ho” remark was certainly that.

Hmmm. That was in the contract? It appears CBS somehow forgot:

[Attorney Martin] Garbus cited a contract clause where CBS acknowledged that Imus’ services were “unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial.” The clause said Imus’s programming was “desired by company and … consistent with company rules and policy,” said Garbus, whose clients have run from comic Lenny Bruce to filmmaker Spike Lee.

Moreover, sources said, the contract had a clause that required CBS to give him a warning before termination over content, which CBS apparently did not do in the heat of the controversy.

How absolutely delicious.

Noel Sheppard's picture