Late last week, American ‘shock jock’ radio host Howard Stern was a guest on Ellen.
Judging by the amount of giddy praise she heaped upon him during their interview, I’m going to go ahead and assume that Ellen hasn’t read his 1995 book, Miss America. Yes, I know it was written 25-years ago, and, yes, I know he’s famous for being controversial. But in 1995, when Stern wrote that ‘Homosexuality seems to be a way for men in our society to avoid the responsibilities of being an adult male. It’s not genetic. It’s all psychosomatic… It’s a fear of making a living and supporting a family’, he was 41-years-old. This isn’t a case of saying something provocative and naive when you were a dumb and impressionable kid. These are fully formed beliefs espoused by a (questionable) adult.
‘They love you wherever you go’, Ellen announced as Stern took a seat to the sound of rapturous applause. Does the whole world have amnesia? This is a man who has built a career on degrading women, exploiting the mentally ill and using racial slurs for laughs. Why do people love him wherever he goes? This month alone, Billie Eilish, Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore have all made their debut on Stern’s Sirius XM Satellite Radio show, The Howard Stern Show. How is he still pulling these names? With so much of his shit on record, why are people still listening to this creep?
Though his decades-long media reign should actually have ended decades ago, his appearance on The View back in May seemed like the obvious final nail. When one of the co-hosts, Sunny Hostin, told Stern his show offended her because he ‘used the N-word a lot’, Stern responded with a blatant lie. ‘Hold on, no. We had a guy on from the Ku Klux Klan who very freely used the N-word, and my belief was hey, say it out in the open. I didn’t use the N-word. Let’s be very clear’. Sure, Howie. Perhaps you didn’t use the N-word in that particular segment you’re referring to. But over the course of your broadcasting career, you have used it—quite literally—hundreds of times.
In 1992, it took Stern exactly 13 seconds to first drop the N-word during his interview with Eazy-E. Throughout the course of the interview, he uses the word so many times that I lost count (I also admittedly could not sit through 32-minutes of a Howard Stern interview). It’s so obvious that he revels in the opportunity to use the word without fear of rebuke by continuously pronouncing N.W.A by its full name, rather than its acronym. Early on, his co-host Robin Quivers—who is Black—even states, ‘You like saying that name’, to which Stern replies, ‘I love saying that name’.
The following year, Stern donned blackface in a skit parodying Ted Danson’s infamous blackface appearance at Whoopi Goldberg’s Friars Club roast. In the skit, Stern uses the N-word seven times, along with a litany of other hideous racial slurs. If you want to subject yourself to the unfunniest three minutes of your life, you can watch it here. I get that it’s a parody of another white man in blackface, but it’s clear he’s seized the opportunity to make cheap racist jokes under this comic immunity.
On another occasion, Stern facilitates a prank call with a man claiming the N-word is his legal name. Throughout the duration of the call, Howard uses the N-word 17 times. Like his Eazy-E interview, it’s another example of getting away with using racial slurs under the guise of ignorantly repeating a name or phrase.
Then there’s the audio of Stern getting into an argument with a Black caller who asks how he gets away with saying the N-word live on air, to which Stern responds, ‘Like this: N—–.’ The man proceeds to tell him that ‘people have died for that word’, offering Dr. King as an example. ‘Dr. King? Gynaecologist or dentist?’ Stern replies, before ending the call with ‘Alright, Tyrone.’ When Robin asks how he knew his name was Tyrone, Stern replies, ‘I could tell.’
There’s also Stern’s skits as Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas. Donning a black Afro wig and a prosthetic nose and lips, Stern opens the skit with the greeting, ‘Oonga boonga.’ So edgy, right? It’s super unfunny and super offensive, but you can watch it here.
All that, and we haven’t even touched on his disgusting treatment of women. The most infamous example of his sleazy misogyny is his interview with a man who is now the president of the United States. Yep, that interview where Stern asked if he can refer to Trump’s daughter as ‘A piece of ass’ and, like any loving father, Trump agrees.
Stern has built a career around sexually humiliating the women he brings onto his show. In 2005, he straight-up sexually harassed a visibly uncomfortable Emma Bunton. After asking her ‘how many guys do you figure you’ve done in your life?’, the then 51-year-old Stern turns the creep dial to the extreme. ‘I feel like you didn’t wear a bra just for me today’, he says. ‘And I feel that you are not wearing panties today. I get that vibe. Am I right? I’m liking it about your panties and no bra. I like it. It’s turning me on a little bit.’ What a sleazy scumbag.
Here is some more of the interview. Sexual harassment gets even more inappropriate. If this was a 'regular' work situation, he'd be sacked. pic.twitter.com/9NbvpnONvI
— Lena’s Painted Toenays (@DontTalkWet) October 12, 2017
And if women don’t submit to him or stroke his enormous ego, things can get ugly. When model Rachel Hunter found out that their interview was being filmed, she announced, ‘This is fucked up’ before proceeding to leave Stern’s studio. In response, Stern called her a c-nt, and then unleashed a tirade of abuse, saying, ‘She fucked Rod Stewart, big deal. That’s your accomplishment. She’s too fat to model. She’s got a big fat ass and back fat. I hate her.’ Lol, that Howie. What a funny, provocative kind of guy!
Airing at the beginning of this year, Amazon’s docuseries Lorena took aim at Stern’s misogynist behaviour surrounding the famous case of Lorena and John Wayne Bobitt. In 1993, after suffering years of emotional and sexual abuse, Lorena cut off and disposed of her husband’s penis. She also claimed he had raped her before she cut him, and was found not guilty. Stern sided with the husband, raising money for him over the radio and having him on his show multiple times. At one point, Stern said that he didn’t believe John raped Lorena because ‘She’s not that great looking.’ When Stern heard that John had a new girlfriend, he asked, ‘Did you have to smack this new girlfriend around or was she okay? Well sometimes they don’t listen, you know how that is.’
Finally, we’ve arrived here, to Stern’s current-day shtick, his mocking of the mentally ill and disabled. For years, one of the recurring characters on his show has been ‘Wendy the Retard’, who was recently renamed ‘Wendy the Slow Adult’ to coincide with Stern’s faux new ‘woke’ persona. It’s honestly hard to listen to the segments he records with her. Not only is it completely dehumanising, it’s also really fucking unfunny. For someone who makes $90 million a year as a comic entertainer, you’d think he’d be better at making people laugh. One particularly repulsive segment is dubbed ‘What Would Wendy Do For Money’. In it, Stern asks Wendy, who survives off food stamps, if she’d ‘kick her pet cat in the ass’ for $5,000.
Since publishing his new memoir, the charmingly titled Howard Stern Comes Again, Stern has worked tirelessly to rebrand himself and censor his controversial past. Some of his shows have been re-uploaded to his website with his use of words like ‘slave’ and ‘fag’ edited out. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Stern said he hated his book Miss America, and that he ‘doesn’t know that I ever believed that kind of thing.’ When asked if he worries about people digging up past offensive material (like I’m doing right now), he says, ‘Everything I did, I make no apologies for, because I was trying to entertain people.’ But if he has no regrets, why is he trying to rewrite history?
Honestly, this only scratches the surface of what this creep has gotten away with (Google Anette DeBella and Dana Plato, who both committed suicide after appearing on his show). Can’t wait to see him judge women for their weight on America’s Got Talent! Oh wait, that’s already happened too. I guess the only next logical step for a slimeball of this calibre is to run for president.