Andy Rooney Suspended; He Denies Racial Remarks
NEW YORK - CBS News suspended Andy Rooney for three months without pay today after confronting the TV humorist about racial remarks attributed to him by a magazine.
CBS News president David Burke, who took the action after a meeting with Rooney, declined to comment on his reasons but said in a statement that he made it clear to Rooney CBS News ``cannot tolerate such remarks or anything that approximates such comments.''
Rooney denied making the racial comments, contained in an article in The Advocate, a Los Angeles-based magazine.
The magazine quoted Rooney as saying that ``most people are born with equal intelligence, but blacks have watered down their genes because the less intelligent ones are the ones that have the most children.
``They drop out of school early, do drugs and get pregnant,'' Rooney was quoted as saying.
Yesterday, Rooney denied making the remarks attributed to him in a phone conversation with the article's author, Chris Bull.
Bull said yesterday that the quotations were accurate. He said he had not tape-recorded the conversation, which took place several weeks ago, but took notes.
``I gave him ample opportunity immediately after he made those remarks,'' Bull said. ``I said I thought they amounted to racism. He didn't respond. He just went to another topic.''
The Advocate is a national magazine that publishes articles of interest to homosexuals.
In an interview last night with the New York Daily News, Rooney said he had told The Advocate that people with less education tend to have children who also tend to be undereducated.
He said that while he believes that tends to be true of black Americans, he did not believe it was a factor of race. ``Anyone who knows me knows I'm not racist,'' he said.
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