After calling a Boy Scouts of America supporter a “f**ing idiot” on
live television, CBS’
Early Show anchor Bryant Gumbel is facing a barrage of condemnation, including demands for his immediate dismissal.
American Family Association made the demand of CBS president and chief executive officer Leslie Moonves yesterday after reviewing tapes of the June 29 broadcast.
Gumbel had completed an interview with the
Council’s Robert Knight over the Supreme Court’s recent ruling upholding the
Boy Scouts of America’s right to exclude homosexual leaders. Knight had articulated a very traditional religious viewpoint regarding homosexuality and had just left the set when Gumbel made the comment.
CBS Early Show anchor Bryant Gumbel
Gumbel apparently thought his microphone was turned off and the camera focused elsewhere when he made the comment.
The on-air camera had moved to the weather segment of the show following the interview with Knight but then returned to the set where Gumbel was seated. Gumbel rose from his seat and made the remark.
The live audio began to fade before the entire obscenity was broadcast. Nevertheless, it caught the attention of some FRC supporters who heard it and then contacted the organization to complain.
“In this day of tolerance and diversity, Mr. Gumbel’s obvious intolerance and bigotry is unacceptable,” said AFA President Donald E. Wildmon. “CBS should fire him immediately. There should be no place at CBS for such intolerance and bigotry.”
Wildmon noted that CBS joined other networks in recent public chastisement of Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker.
“Why would CBS be less vigilant in highlighting the absurd comments of one of its own — particularly an employee who has such a high profile as Early Show host Gumbel?” he asked. “Surely the network must be embarrassed at such derogatory language used by the host of one of their flagship programs. Failure of CBS to act immediately will lead the public to believe that they practice selective indignation.”
“If CBS refuses to fire Mr. Gumbel, we shall turn to the advertisers which support his show and call for a boycott of their products because it will show that they endorse such arrogance, intolerance and bigotry,” Wildmon continued.