Walsh back on air: 'I'm not going anywhere'
Vowing "I'm not going anywhere," former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh was back on the air Friday afternoon, a day after being pulled from his WIND 560-AM show for using racially charged language.
Walsh started his Friday show by revisiting the discussion about the controversial name of Washington, D.C., NFL team that led to him being cut off by commercials Thursday evening.
He said his use of racial slurs wasn't directed at anyone, but they needed to be said to discuss them.
"I said those words to try to get a discussion going," Walsh said Friday. "What's offensive? And my radio station kept cutting me off."
"I'm going to continue to have that dialogue," Walsh said to end his opening monologue. "And I'm not offending anybody and I'm not pointing a finger at anybody. This country better grow up and get over all these names."
Walsh said the radio station isn't infringing on his free speech rights because it's a private company with rules.
"That company has a right to do with me whatever they choose to do," he said.
The Elk Grove Village-based station's general manager hasn't responded to multiple requests for comment. During his show, Walsh read a statement attributed to the station that said racial slurs can't be used on the air, even in the context of a discussion.
"He did not in any way use these terms in a defamatory or derogatory manner, simply using them as examples," Walsh read off the statement. "However, AM-560 The Answer did not allow these terms to go on the air."
On Thursday, Walsh was interrupted by commercials several times during a discussion about the name of the Washington, D.C., football team. He used racial slurs trying to point out that the team's name isn't treated by the media as being as bad as other offensive language.
He also posted offensive racial language on Twitter afterward.
"I don't know how you can have the discussion without identifying the terms," Walsh told the Daily Herald.
The comments drew some pushback from other Illinois Republicans.
State Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove was critical on Twitter, the same forum where Walsh on Thursday night told his followers what was going on.
"The guy is just messed up. Glad WIND took action," Sandack posted.
And state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican, called Walsh's comments a "diatribe."
"Walsh's statements ignore years of social advancement to promote his persona as a provocateur," Ives said in a statement. "He did not misspeak or choose the wrong words. Mr. Walsh intentionally used these insulting words to draw attention to himself."
Walsh started doing radio after losing a 2012 re-election bid for Congress against Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates. He first won election in 2010 over Democrat Melissa Bean.
Walsh's political career was marked by controversies that surrounded his comments. In 2012 at a public meeting, Walsh said "radical Islam" is "a threat that is much more at home now than it was right after 9/11."
"It's in Elk Grove, it's in Addison, it's in Elgin," he said. "It's here."
The comments drew a harsh rebuke from local Muslims.