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Imus Belittles Insulin Pump Wearers; Listeners Respond

June 19, 2001
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To the management of CBS Radio and WFAN Radio:

I have been a long-time listener of the Imus in the Morning show, both during my residence in New York, in which I listened on WFAN, to my current residence in Massachusetts, in which I listen on 96.9FM.

However, while I understand Mr. Imus' irreverant style, and his self-proclaimed status as an equal opportunity offendor, I find a recent promotional advertisement, which apparently rebroadcast one of his 'bits' to be personally offensive and WAY over the line.

He suggests that it would be amusing to remove the insulin pump from his engineer/producer Eddie Skozzare (sic?) and watch him flounder around on the floor.

I am the father of a 15 year old girl, diagnosed with diabetes in 1997, who struggles daily with a life-threatening disease with incredible bravery. The insulin pump she has been wearing since December 1999 has given her life back, allowing her a life as a teenager, and hopefully helping prevent long-term implications of diabetes such as heart failure, blindness, and amputations.

I suggest Mr. Imus consider a couple of things. He is the father of a young child. I suggest he put himself in the shoes of a parent of a diabetic child, and consider how he would react to having to stick young Wyatt 8-10 times a day until he bleeds, and give him 3-5 injections of insulin a day just to keep him alive.

I also suggest that if Mr. Imus thinks it's funny to disconnect a diabetic from his insulin pump, that he consider this for his next bit. How about taking one of those kids with cancer who go to his camp, and stop their treatments so we can watch them flounder. Or maybe it's funny to take a child in a wheelchair and see what happens if you start him rolling down a hill. Or maybe, given the injuries Mr. Imus recently suffered when thrown from a horse, we should put him back on horseback and 'spook' the horse so we can watch him squirm around trying to catch his breath. Are these funny? Sorry, don't think so, nor do I think making fun of a diabetic with an insulin pump is either.

I understand the concept of free speech. I also understand the concept of bad taste. My suggestion: the International headquarters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is located in Manhattan, about 3 miles from your studios. Their annual Walk for the Cure is in September. The goal of the JDRF and the Walk is to fund research so that one day, G-d willing, my daughter Allison and Mr. Skozzare will no longer have to wear their insulin pumps because there will be a cure. I think a generous contribution from WFAN and CBS to the JDRF would go a long way. In addition, JDRF sponsors numerous other fundraisers, including auctions, and perhaps the donation of some sports memorabilia, tickets, or on-air support for these fundraisers might be a good first step.

Stephen J. Winer

Messages Posted at the WFAN Message Board

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June 19, 2001

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