Late one night last week, radio host Anthony Cumia nearly became the Bernie Goetz of shock jocks. But unlike Goetz, he didn’t use his gun, even though he says he was carrying one when he was assaulted. Instead, he went on Twitter and ran his mouth after it happened. As a result, he lost his satellite radio gig and, presumably, the $3 million yearly salary that goes along with it.
Cumia, the cohost of The Opie and Anthony Show—which has been broadcasting in various incarnations for nearly twenty years and until last week had been running on Sirius XM Radio—says that after midnight on July 2 a black female approached him and punched him repeatedly under some scaffolding near Times Square. Cumia says he was out taking pictures—he’s allegedly a photography geek—when he captured a shot of the woman walking under the scaffolding. She’s framed almost in the center of the photo, so it would seem that she didn’t accidentally wind up in the shot.
According to Cumia, the woman saw him snap the photo, indignantly stomped up to him, called him a “white motherfucker,” and belted him in the face. On Twitter shortly after the incident, Cumia wrote that he replied by calling her a “&$;;-:”—since it’s six characters and the middle two characters are repeated, I’m going to go way out on the banana-tree limb and assume he means “nigger”—whereupon she punched him five more times. Cumia says that about five black males then started hassling him.
He seems to have extricated himself from the situation without any significant loss of blood, at which point he went into full-on Charles Bronson/Clint Eastwood/Travis Bickle mode in the middle of the night on Twitter:
It’s really open season on white people in this day and age. No recourse. Fight back and you’re a racist. The predators know this. Good luck….They run things now. We’re done….There’s a deep seeded [sic] problem with violence in the black community. Try to address it and you’ll be exiled to racistville. But it’s real.
Here are a dozen of the more incendiary tweets from Cumia’s midsummer night’s verbal haranguing.
As far as I can tell, the term “shock jock” refers to any broadcaster who says things that no one would have found shocking 50 years ago. Though Cumia has buttered his bread for two decades as one of the country’s better known “shock jocks,” last week’s lava-belching Twitter tirade proved too shocking for his employer:
SiriusXM has terminated its relationship with Anthony Cumia of the Opie & Anthony channel. The decision was made, and Cumia informed, late Thursday, July 3 after careful consideration of his racially charged and hate-filled remarks on social media. Those remarks and postings are abhorrent to SiriusXM, and his behavior is wholly inconsistent with what SiriusXM represents.
But Cumia is far more than merely the latest celebrity victim of the ongoing Great Anti-Racist Purge. What adds an entirely different dimension to his case is the alleged real-life violence. At the time of this writing, his purported Negress assailant has yet to emerge to tell her side, but if Cumia’s not lying, his firing and one-way boat ticket to Racistville are evidence that in modern America, it’s considered worse for white people to say or think bad things about blacks than it is for blacks to physically assault whites. I suspect that Cumia drew more wrath upon himself for daring to mention black-on-white violence than he did for using words such as “cunt” and even the time-honored “nigger.” Acknowledging blacks’ overwhelming edge in American interracial-violence statistics these days is one of the things you can’t say if you expect to have a lucrative media career, no matter how true it might be. To keep your job, you have to pretend that the White Hate Nazi Klan Machine is still rolling along Mississippi Burning-style.
By the weekend, Cumia had deleted all tweets he’d ever made—everything, throughout his entire history on Twitter. In their stead, he then posted two pictures—one of them with a black friend of his named Carlton and the other with a white tranny who has admittedly amazing breasts. At some point over the weekend and apparently half-shitfaced, he posted a video of himself and Carlton singing a karaoke version of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder’s treacly ode to interracial harmony, “Ebony and Ivory.”
But these latest gestures seem snide, as if he’s playing it for laughs. If so, good for him. Although he deleted all his tweets even after it was too late for him to keep his job, I have yet to hear the slightest evidence of him flat-out apologizing. For all I know—indeed, for all I hope—he may be sitting in a lawn chair, sipping a martini, and enjoying the sun in his backyard in Racistville, USA. If one day he winds up crying on camera and saying that he never meant what he said, I would prefer that you didn’t tell me.
I’ve often thought that comedians are the last bastion of ballsiness in American media. Last week that old plastic-surgery monster Joan Rivers called Barack Obama gay and Michelle Obama a “tranny,” and I see no hint of her being forced to eat her words. Gilbert Gottfried, fired a few years ago from his gig as the voice of the Aflac duck because he made a joke on Twitter about Japanese tsunami victims, recently penned a brilliant Playboy essay bemoaning “The Apology Epidemic” that he says has destroyed modern comedy. If there is ever to be any significant cultural pushback against political correctness, a few gutsy popular comedians may represent the vanguard. But that’s so foolishly hopeful, it’s comical.
Anthony Cumia’s critics—yea, they are legion, and they all seem to be fat white bearded males who wear glasses, voted for Obama, and collect Star Wars memorabilia—are quick to note that this isn’t a “free speech” or a First Amendment issue. Rather, it’s that ultra-rare occasion where the “free market” does something they like—namely, it strips ideological heretics of the ability to put food on the table. I’d be willing to accept their “free market” argument if they were open to the idea of a true free market—say, one in which employers were free not to hire loudmouthed urban black women for fear that they might call you a “white motherfucker” and repeatedly punch you if you don’t ask them for permission before taking their picture. If we can all agree to that, then let freedom ring!
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