Conservative radio hosts at WMAL called out Cumulus Media Tuesday for firing their colleague, The Spectator’s Washington editor Amber Athey, over a tweet mocking Vice President Kamala Harris’ outfit.
Cumulus Media, the owner of the conservative radio station WMAL, fired Athey on March 9 after dozens of Twitter accounts contacted the station about her alleged “bigotry” in a March 2 tweet comparing Harris’ brown suit to a UPS employee.
“Kamala looks like a UPS employee—what can brown do for you? Nothing good, apparently,” she said of the suit worn at the State of the Union address.
Kamala looks like a UPS employee — what can brown do for you? Nothing good, apparently.
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) March 2, 2022
The former Daily Caller White House correspondent said nobody had an issue with the tweet until a few days later, when she criticized protesters at the University of North Texas who were in favor of performing sex reassignment surgeries on children. The protests responded to Jeff Younger, a father whose ex-wife forced his son to transition into a girl, who was set to give a speech on “transgender child abuse” in early March.
In the midst of backlash, Athey said she received a call from Cumulus Media vice president, Jeff Boden, and vice president of human resources, Kriston Fancellas, who informed her that she had violated the company’s social media policy by posting the “racist” tweet about Harris. Her employment was terminated immediately.
“It shows their racist intent. These are people who think about everything in terms of race. Nobody on the show knew this was going to happen,” Athey told the Daily Caller Tuesday. “They only use this as a tool. People who claim to care about bigotry are only using it as a weapon and are using it to silence people they disagree with politically.”
WMAL radio host and Daily Caller editorial director Vince Coglianese said the decision was “out of control,” expressing the importance of a “free speech environment.”
“This is out of control, I don’t think this was right,” he said on “The Vince Coglianese Show” Tuesday. “But they [Cumulus] heard me out, they listened to my perspective on this. I know some of the guys are holding out hope that they can change course. I am too, I really do but the silver lining here is that they hear the outcry, they hear from the listeners, they hear from the international press and they think to themselves ‘we got to be a company that protects free speech.”
Larry O’Connor, Athey’s former co-host, said the company “made a horrible mistake” and that it is individuals, not companies, who get offended by things. He also said everyone at the station is against the decision and want it reversed. (RELATED: Spotify CEO Doesn’t Plan On Removing Joe Rogan’s Podcast, Says ‘Canceling Voice Is A Slippery Slope’)
“Companies don’t feel things,” O’Connor began. “Individuals do. So who’s the person? Still don’t have the name of that person. However, apparently companies feel things when they get emails, and the company felt this was a fireable offense and without even allowing Amber to explain herself or defend herself, she was fired. And that was wrong. The company made a horrible mistake. This was wrong, they shouldn’t have done it.”
Dan Bongino said Tuesday he will invite Athey on his show biweekly to “fight back against cancel culture.”
Cumulus fired the talented @amber_athey over a completely non-racial joke they claim was “racist.”
So naturally, @dbongino invited Amber to be a bi-weekly guest on his nationally syndicated Cumulus radio show. Legendary.
“This is how we fight back against cancel culture.” pic.twitter.com/lOxNGvGo2K
— Bongino Report (@BonginoReport) April 5, 2022
WMAL host Chris Plante also called on his employer to re-hire Athey and “stand for American values” in a Monday tweet.
“Cumulus and WMAL need to hire back @amber_athey. It’s the right thing to do,” Plante said. “Death penalty for a perfectly good joke? Rent a sense of humor. Stand for American values.”
Cumulus and WMAL need to hire back @amber_athey . It’s the right thing to do. Death penalty for a perfectly good joke? Rent a sense of humor. Stand for American values.
— Chris Plante Show (@ChrisPlanteShow) April 4, 2022