UPDATE: April 30, 2014: D.L. Hughley releases statement concerning his ‘thirsty b*tch” comments:
Los Angeles – April 30, 2014
Last week during an after-show segment of my radio show, The D.L. Hughley Show, I unintentionally offended some people.
In regards to Columbus Short’s legal issues, I jumped to a conclusion and blamed Tanee McCall-Short; and I’m sorry. My intent was not to quiet victims.
When I did speak of the topic on air, I repeatedly emphasized then, and as I do now, that anyone who is convicted of domestic violence, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law; and that is what I believe.
Today, as always, the phone lines to The D.L. Hughley Show will be open. We’ll address this topic with the DL Question of the Day and will discuss it throughout the show today from 3pm – 7pm ET.
You can listen to the show here.
When radio host Don Imus took to the airwaves of his radio show on April 4, 2007, to opine about the NCAA Championship Basketball game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Rutgers Scarlet Raptors, he referred to the latter team as “nappy-headed hoes.” Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson called for the shock jock’s firing and sponsorships to be pulled — both of which occurred. Al Roker penned a scathing letter decrying Imus’ racist and sexist words, and national conversations about race dominated prime-time television.
It was a big deal.
However, when comedian D.L. Hughley spoke about the domestic violence allegations against actor Columbus Short and called the actor’s wife a “thirsty bitch,” Black people were more silent than Tiger Woods during the singing of the Black National Anthem. Short’s time on the hit ABC series “Scandal” began ticking away after a number of off-the-set incidents made national news, including the domestic violence charged by his wife, Tanee McCall-Short.
And in the midst of all of this, Hughley felt the need to say, “I think that broad shouldn’t be telling all his business if she gone take him to court.”
When his female co-host, Jasmine Sanders, tried to challenge him over his sexist remarks, he dismissed her to speak with male co-host Steve Wilson because he has “nuts,” saying, “I don’t think you believe half the shit you saying right now, Jasmine.” Wilson laughed in the background, co-signing Hughley’s behavior. “This bitch was thirsty,” Hughley added. “The bitch was thirsty. What, she gone go back to dancing? She gone f*ck her money up?”
Calling a woman a b*tch is a big deal too, but no one seems to care.
With the exception of Kirsten West Savali‘s rebuke of the funny man’s sexist commentary in xoJane and a few folks who badgered Hughley’s Twitter handle, the same angry Black people who wanted Imus hammered to the stake have said almost nothing. Apparently, a Black man disrespecting Black women — or, in Hughley’s case, a woman who claims she was abused by her husband and has witnesses to prove it — is OK.
Well, it’s not OK, and as a Black man who has reported on domestic violence during my journalism career, I can tell you that none of the women I have interviewed were “thirsty” about filing a police report that could rip their families apart, and according to many of the women I have spoken with, doing so enraged their abusers even more.
I could go in to all of the numbers that prove that domestic violence is a serious issue, but that would digress from the main problem: That a Black man who works for a Black media company can get away with calling a Black woman a b*tch on live radio — and arrogantly defend it on Twitter. From the Black male co-host who sat by and said nothing to the Black people who own the company standing by and saying nothing about a Black radio host who berated a domestic violence victim in near Too Short fashion, this whole situation shows what a failure Black men have become when it comes to respecting Black women.
For all of the numbers Hughley tossed around about the number of women who file false domestic violence reports, he dismisses the number of women who actually have documented proof of abuse. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that one-quarter of physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings against females are never reported to the police. Many of the women I have interviewed tell me they have endured years of abuse because they were too ashamed to admit to their friends and family that they would “let someone abuse me.” Many of them stayed because they were homemakers who felt they had no choice but to stay for the sake of their children. Under Hughley’s faulty logic, these women were smart to be mum because they would be “dumb to act against their financial interests.”
When I posted my reactions to Hughley’s sexist commentary on my Facebook page Monday night, a high school friend of mine inboxed me and we ended up speaking on Skype for hours about her abuser and how hard it was to leave him. Ironically, she met Hughley in Germany and wanted me to post this note for him and other women who experience domestic violence:
For the past few hours, I have been pondering on a picture and a conversation. What’s the correlation? Me and DL Hughley. See, a few years ago this was the same man that came and brought laughter to the troops and their families in Germany, just as he does on his daily radio show. The same man that uplifts the morale of the soldiers as he does for civilians displayed a demoralizing and disgusting view a few days ago, in light of a domestic violence incident. Now, I look back at this picture and see someone completely different. Perhaps, this is what domestic violence does; it continues to creative division. When does the success of a Black actor overshadow or diminish the wrong that a person does? Why do people place a higher priority on status, success, and or wealth, than the status or value of an individual’s life or well-being? What price does the mind, body, and soul have when you have been left broke and broken?
I was never married to a celebrity but a Captain in the military for over 10 years. I finally found the courage to report my abuse when my husband left me at the airport bruised and with a bloody broken nose. This wasn’t the first time, but the worst. I really felt like I was going to die. My soon to be ex even wrote in his own words in the police report that even in combat he had never seen so much blood as he had on me.
There was so much blood that I blacked out several times and felt as if I was going to die. My husband was discharged from the Army and now I am back home left with no support from the military. I share this because domestic violence is a silent killer. Women are more than likely to continue to suffer the abuse than to struggle and rebuild — especially with kids. I understand sacrificing financial security over physical safety. I did this for quite some time. But when do you compromise and put a price on your life and those of your children?
Sometimes, I wish I would have continued to stay quiet and live comfortably, but who’s to say I would still be alive to enjoy the price I paid for comfort over peace of mind, sanity, and safety? Comments like Mr. Hughley’s continue the cycle of abuse. You may call it your opinion. But what do you call an opinion when you speak harshly upon someone who is victimized? You, too, become apart of the crime, in my opinion. Words are the invisible scars that never heal. It hurts me to my core when a woman stands up for her legal rights but continues to be further beat down because someone’s status, wealth, or reputation means more than her physical, emotional, and mental safety.
The woman is not only physically battered, but continues to be emotionally and socially battered and ridiculed by the ignorant mind-set that many like DL have. I know her pain and share in her pain. There should be more done when anyone is abused. If you saw my husband, he definitely does not depict the abuser but what does an abuser look like? It is never what society wants him to look like or the depiction on TV. It’s that wholesome, educated family man that takes his family to church and dinner, and you say, “I wish I had that.” But the pain and secrets are all hidden behind those pretty doors and behind that well-manicured lawn.
Thank you, my friend, for allowing me to share your story and refusing to “shut the f*ck up” as Hughley would suggest that you do. Because my friend is still struggling to deal with the trauma of her abuse and is uncomfortable going public, I won’t publish the photo of her and Hughley. But she did say I could publish a YouTube video of Hughley performing at her base in Germany. She is shown sitting in the audience, but I will not identify her.
Celebrities Who’ve Survived Domestic Violence
Rihanna and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Chris Brown had a very public breakup and domestic violence dispute in 2009. He was 19 and she was 20.
2. Kelly Rowland
In her song "Dirty Laundry", Kelly Rowland revealed for the first time ever about an abusive relationship in her past. She talks about verbal abuse and her abusive boyfriend turning her against her mother and sister, saying “Nobody love you more than me. Not your mommma, not your Daddy and not B.”
3. Tamar Braxton
Tamar admitted that she had “two boyfriends that like to beat up girlfriends” on “Braxton Family Values.” She’s gone on to say she has no regrets because those abusive relationships helped build her self-esteem and led to her marriage to Vince.
4. Halle Berry
“I saw my mother battered, and could not do anything to stop it – my father was tyrannical, lashing out at her for no reason. I felt the effects that had on our family — I’ve experienced what these women have gone through,” Berry said during a 2009 interview. “I never had to run to a shelter, but I did choose the wrong partners. Not always good men. Luckily, in recent years, I have been smart enough to hit the door when violence even becomes a possibility. That is something I will not tolerate.”
5. Claudette Ortiz
“I noticed that I think happened with me at that time, your worth is broken down, so in some situations you don’t realize the avenues that you do have to get out,” The songstress said during an interview with Hello Beautiful. “In other situations its hard to get out. People view it as ‘oh girl you can get out of that situation’ but its not that easy. When you’re afraid and then there are not that many options especially with women who are involved. I didn’t have any children with him so, thank God. Women who have children with their abusers, it’s even harder, you don’t want to remove the children, its embarrassing to some women, and then sometimes people have their opinions on how you should be handling something. Most of the time its people who have never been in the situation.”
6. Robin Givens
Givens has been very vocal about her violent marriage to former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
7. Tina Turner
Tina Turner first opened up about her story of brutal physical abuse by ex-husband Ike Turner in her memoir, I, Tina: My Own Story.
8. Evelyn Lozada
Evelyn Lozada described her domestic dispute and divorce from former husband Chad Johnson as the darkest days of her life.
9. K. Michelle
Although some people have doubted K. Michelle’s story, the reality star and singer stands by her truth. “I had people send me hate, send me Tweets and do things to me, like I was the one who did it to myself,” she said. “I think a lot of women don’t tell their story, and men, just because you don’t know what people are going to say to you. And more and more, women are coming forward. And I think, if you go through that, you have to use it to help other people. You have to be strong.” Today, she has a partnership with the Saving Our Daughters nonprofit.
10. Whitney Houston
The late Whitney Houston detailed her abusive marriage to Bobby Brown during a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey. “He slapped me, but he was on probation for traffic violations,” she said. “You can’t slap somebody if you’re on probation. It went to domestic violence court.”
11. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey talked about her abusive relationship with Tommy Mottola (1993-1998) during an interview with Larry King. “Abuse has several categories… emotionally, mentally, in other ways. It’s scary,” she said. “I just think you get into a situation and you feel locked in… For me to really get out of it was difficult because there was a connection that was not only a marriage, but a business where the person was in control of my life.”
12. NeNe Leakes
In her book "Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Lessons on Love and Life Learned the Hard Way", NeNe tackles her painful childhood, the abuse she suffered at the hands of a violent boyfriend, her struggle to support her firstborn son, and her path to true love, self-acceptance, and pride. Additionally she founded The Twisted Hearts Foundation, an advocacy project that aims to make people aware about the issue of domestic violence against women.
13. Gabrielle Union
Actress Gabrielle Union has spoken publicly in the past about the attack she suffered while working the night shift at a shoe store in California when she was 19 years old. She tweeted about her own rape, saying, "Every victim/survivor of rape is unique, including how they THINK they'd like justice 2 be handed out ... During my rape I tried 2 shoot my rapist, bt I missed. Over the yrs I realized tht killin my rapist would've added insult 2 injury."
R&B singer Michel’le revealed that she was beaten by producer Dr. Dre during the course of their 90′s relationship. The domestic violence in the six year relationship (1990-1996) with Dre was apparently “very public” and she revealed she even had to have her black eyes covered in a few of her videos. She thought that it was part of a normal relationship and she saw the abuse as love.
15. Latoya Jackson
La Toya opens up about her abusive relationship with her manager and ex husband Jack Gordon in her reality series "Life With La Toya". She revealed that 'My spouse locked me in the closet ... he would beat me.' 'I knew that one day, I would be able to escape and brush myself off. That is what this show is about. It’s an extension of that and living the life you want to live.'
16. Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson married legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis on November 26, 1981, and they were married for three-and-a-half years. Davis’ physical and emotional abuse of Tyson has been a source of great frustration for many. And it was said that Miles also abused Francis Davis, a Broadway dancer who gave up her career to be with him.
17. Erica Mena
On her relationship with Fat Joe’s best friend Raoul, the father of her son & the video that exposed the demise of the relationship: "What you see with us is just me basically finally defending myself. It was a really a bad time. I was parting ways with that relationship and I thought I had moved on, but before you know it I was being attacked as if I was still in the relationship. It was seven years of it. It’s been a long journey for me."
18. Christina Aguilera
Christina has admitted that her Army Sergeant father Fausto made life hell for her family and she used music as an escape from the trauma of her beatings. She said: "I witnessed a lot of unpleasant things - a lot of pushing and shoving and fighting and quarrelling. Growing up I did not feel safe. Feeling powerless is the worst feeling in the world. I turned to singing as an outlet. The pain at home is where my love for music came from."
19. Keke Wyatt
"R&B Divas" star Keke Wyatt left her first husband and road manager Rahmat Morton after years of abuse, and even a miscarriage. She is also known for stabbing her ex-husband in self-defense. She is now married to Michael Ford.
20. Jaslene Gonzalez
"America's Next Top Model" winner Jaslene Gonzalez revealed her history with domestic violence on the reality show. She partnered with Liz Claiborne for the "Love Is Not Abuse" campaign, to inspire domestic violence victims to seek help.
21. Lisa Wu
Former "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Lisa Wu spoke candidly about a violent relationship, most associate with ex-husband Keith Sweat. She said her mission was not to expose, but to show women that life can get better. Although she married Ed Hartwell, the couple have since divorced.