Fox ends association with company whose station blasted Erin Andrews
Note: This story contains language that some might find offensive.
Fox Sports is going all-in on a Boston sports-talk radio station that railed against Erin Andrews.
In a letter from Fox Sports president Eric Shanks today to David Field, the president & CEO of Entercom Communications Corp., Shanks said that Fox Sports (and its entertainment business) will no longer be advertising on Entercom's stations. The company is one of the largest radio broadcasting companies in the U.S., with 100 stations in 23 markets. Fox Sports talent will also not be appearing on any WEEI show starting today.
By now you are no doubt aware of the incidents that occurred on-air at your Boston station WEEI on July 15 and again on July 22, I am referring to the obnoxious comments made by Kirk Minihane on the “Dennis and Callahan” show regarding one of our Fox on-air personalities, Erin Andrews.
As we have previously stated to various media outlets, the comments made by Mr. Minihane were boorish and sexist. Further, the “apology” made by Mr. Minihane was juvenile and insincere. To make matters worse, the “apology” was posted under a banner (allegedly approved by your Boston VP and Market Manager, Phil Zachary) hailing “The Triumphant Return of Kirk Minihane.”
I had hoped by this time we might hear a sincere apology from WEEI, or perhaps someone from your office might have reached out to Fox (which through our film and television businesses is a significant advertiser on Entercom stations). However, none of that has been forthcoming, and needless to say we are disappointed.
I have discussed this issue with our senior management and our various senior marketing executives. At their recommendation, I am writing to inform you that going forward Fox’s entertainment and sports businesses will not be advertising on your stations for the foreseeable future.
I regret that we need to take this action, but as one of our executives reminded me, “sometimes you need to vote with your feet.”
I trust you will discuss our decision with your staff at WEEI.
On the morning following Fox's broadcast of the All-Star Game on July 16, WEEI's Kirk Minihane, an on-air staffer of the Dennis and Callahan Show, called Andrews a "gutless bitch" and told her to "drop dead" during a critique of her admittedly tepid questioning of Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright during Fox's coverage of the game at Target Field.
“What a bitch,” Minihane said. “I hate her. What a gutless bitch. Seriously, go away. Drop dead. I mean seriously, what the hell is wrong with her? First of all, follow up. Secondly, the guy admitted he did it. He told reporters he threw a couple of pipe bombs. So how is that social media’s fault?"
In a statement later posted to the station's website, Minihane apologized for his comments. He was then absent from the show for a couple of days for what the station said was scheduled time off to attend a wedding. The furor was a big story in Boston -- with state attorney general and democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley weighing in to reporters. “I think that’s pretty unacceptable in this day and age,” Coakley told Boston.com. “Here’s a professional woman, doing her job, obviously we can all be criticized for what we do but we should be able to do it without those kind of disgusting, uncalled for, and frankly outrageous comments."
Upon returning to the program last Wednesday, Minihane apologized for his remarks before putting the television personality on blast again. "I just feel like it was the wrong time to use that specific word to describe her," Minihane said. "I will say this: I think she stinks at her job. I don't think she's very smart, I don't think she comes across as very smart. I think Fox only hired her because she's good-looking. I think if she weighed 15 pounds more, she'd be a waitress at Perkins. I mean, that's what I believe."
Chad Finn of The Boston Globe reported late Friday afternoon that WEEI and Entercom suspended Minihane for a week.
Lewis Kay, the Los Angeles-based representative for Andrews, responded to Minihane on Twitter following the Perkins comments. "I certainly hope you treat the women in your personal life with more respect than the way you treat them on your show," Kay tweeted.
Fox Sports upper management -- many of whom have wanted to go public with their animus over the comments -- met on Friday afternoon at the company's Los Angeles offices on how to respond to WEEI after Minihane's second set of comments. That response came today with Shanks' letter to Field.