“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,” Sirius XM said in a statement. “Those remarks and postings are abhorrent to SiriusXM, and his behavior is wholly inconsistent with what SiriusXM represents.”
Cumia had claimed over Twitter on Wednesday that he was punched in the face by a woman who had stepped into the frame while he was taking a photograph. He followed the anecdote with a disturbing barrage of lewd invective and offensive racial generalizations while complaining that it was “open season on white people in this day and age.” (Cumia has since deleted the tweets in question, though Gawker has compiled many of them with screenshots.)
Cumia is no stranger to controversy. Along with co-host Gregg Hughes (known as Opie), he has punctuated his radio career with stunts that have gotten him in hot water with employers. In 1998, the pair were fired from a Boston-area radio station for an April Fool’s hoax that claimed the mayor had been killed in a traffic accident. Their show was then canceled by Infitinity Broadcasting in 2002 after promoting a contest that led to a couple calling in to say they were having sex in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Fans of Opie & Anthony, which has made its home on Sirius since 2004 and even spawned its own Sirius channel, reacted to Cumia’s firing with a Change.org petition threatening a boycott until Cumia is reinstated. “We are hereby pledging to boycott your service until you reinstate Anthony Cumia,” the petition says. “A member of your staff should not lose their job for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech. You should be ashamed of your actions.” The petition had attracted 9,000 signatures by Sunday evening.
Cumia, for his part, did not appear to be contrite over the incident. “Sirius decided to cave and fire me,” he wrote in a Twitter post on Friday morning that now appears to have been deleted. “Welcome to bizarro world. Fired for shit that wasn’t even on the air & wasn’t illegal. So, who’s next?”