Rudy Giuliani Loses His New York Radio Show, Probably For Good

Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis is signaling that the suspension of former New York City Mayor and attorney and confidant to former President Donald Trump Rudy Giuliani will likely result in his termination from talk WABC New York (770). “It’s pretty hard to bring him back,” Catsimatidis told The New York Post. “His behavior makes it very hard to reverse course. He makes it hard not to terminate him.”

As first reported by Inside Radio on Friday, Giuliani was suspended and his weekday afternoon one-hour show was canceled after he continued to bring up refuted claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, in violation of company policy.

“We’re not going to talk about fallacies of the November 2020 election,” Catsimatidis told the New York Times last week. “We warned him once. We warned him twice. And I get a text from him last night, and I get a text from him this morning that he refuses not to talk about it. So he left me no option. I suspended him.”

Catsimatidis said all station hosts were told not to discuss the electronic voting machines or their accuracy in tabulating the results of the 2020 Presidential election. The directive came after lawyers from Dominion Voting Systems sent a letter to the radio station. The company has sued other media outlets for defamation.

Giuliani has been found guilty in a defamation case brought by two former Georgia election workers and ordered to pay $148 million in damages. He is also the alleged unnamed co-conspirator in a federal indictment against Trump, the Associated Press reports.

According to Catsimatidis, the former politician-turned-talk-radio-host left him no choice but to remove him from the station lineup. WABC would use the dump button when Giuliani would bring up the false election claims. When he continued to do so the station suspended him.

Catsimatidis said the suspension was “strike one.” He explained that Giuliani “issued an ultimatum to double the hours of his show – or else.” That was “strike two,” Catsimatidis said.

After Giuliani spent the weekend disparaging Catsimatidis in the media, the billionaire owner said that was “strike three.” Co-host Maria Ryan was provided 30 days’ notice that she would no longer be offered employment.

“What happened last week was very tragic,” Catsimatidis said on Sunday while filling in during Giuliani’s weekend timeslot on WABC.

Giuliani fired back at Catsimatidis during his “America’s Mayor” program, which is streamed on X, “I’m not going to work for a censorship station,” he said, as reported by the New York Post. “No one at the station can talk about the 2020 election? I talk about the 2020 election all the time. I can’t talk about the 2020 election when there is a $148 million judgment against me?”

On Monday afternoon, Catsimatidis issued the following statement regarding the situation:

As I said in my text to Rudy Giuliani on Saturday morning, the good news is we only argue every 40 years.

I’ve supported Mayor Giuliani for decades. He did a great job as “America’s Mayor.” He was tough, which allowed 8 million New Yorkers to walk around freely and feel safe.

I bought WABC at a time when media outlets wanted to stay away from associating with Rudy. I gave Rudy his own show and continued to support him despite the criticism I received as a result of this decision.

In January 2021, during the fallout of the 2020 election and controversy surrounding the results circulating the news media space, WABC received a letter from lawyers at Dominion Voting Systems, which our own lawyers reviewed. We informed Dominion’s lawyers that we would instruct our on-air talent not to talk about Dominion.

Our lawyers came to the decision, in order to protect the station, to direct all on-air talent “not to state, suggest or imply that the election results are not valid or that the election is not over.” This has remained the policy of the station ever since and is wholly consistent with industry-wide policies.

Mayor Guiliani has admitted repeatedly over the past few days that he agreed not to speak about Dominion. However, he was also warned numerous times, particularly in the past few months, to refrain from any allegations of electronic voting manipulation surrounding the 2020 election.

Last Tuesday, May 7th, Mayor Giuliani gave me an ultimatum. He texted me that I had to double his airtime and compensation by May 28th. I told him I wanted to sit down in person to discuss this. He repeated his demand on Wednesday, May 8th.

That Thursday, May 9th, management was made aware of the Bloomberg News report that Rudy was continuing to double down on his defamatory comments about the Georgia election workers on social media, leading to additional filings against him by the plaintiffs in that lawsuit.

As a result of this new information and in an effort to protect the station, that same day, I sent Rudy a letter reminding him not to speak about the legitimacy of the election results on our air. Yet just hours later, during his 3:00 pm show that day, he did just that.

The WABC control room has a dump button that creates a delay, in order to allow our board operators to prevent words regulated by the FCC from being broadcast. Last Thursday, shortly after receiving this letter, Rudy closed his show by talking about electronic voting machines, and our board operator dumped the audio, as instructed. We have a copy of this audio in our records. Once again, he was warned not to discuss this topic, and only hours later proceeded to do just that.

This is when Rudy issued me a second ultimatum. After his show was abruptly pulled from the air on Thursday night, May 9th, Rudy texted me at 6:41 pm, saying “I am disregarding every order given in this letter.” It is important to note that Rudy was not even suspended yet at this point in time.

On Friday morning, May 10th, at 8:57 am, I texted Rudy, saying, “Rudy I love you. I’ve supported you for 40 years. I look forward to sitting down together one on one.” Rudy responded by stating that he will continue to disregard the instructions in this letter.

In light of all of the above, management held a meeting at noon on Friday to decide how to proceed. My primary concern, as a responsible journalist, was that Rudy would continue talking about the electronic voting machines, as he attempted to do on Thursday. Of course, nobody here has ever been fired for free speech or talking about the election, even though in my mind, talking about the election of 2020 is like talking about who shot Kennedy. At the end of the day, Rudy attempted to talk about the manipulation of electronic voting machines. He has admitted this himself.

As Rudy mentioned this weekend, in November 2023, Newsmax subpoenaed WABC and myself questioning our exclusion from a lawsuit that Newsmax was a part of, which our lawyers are handling. To be clear, WABC is not a party to this lawsuit and there is no factual or legal basis for this subpoena.

In a Saturday May 11th, New York Post article, Mayor Giuliani admitted that he was on the payroll of Newsmax. This is concerning to me, especially in light of the subpoena which was issued to us this past November.

Given his recent ultimatum, his direct violation of an agreement he signed to not talk about electronic voting machines, and his absolute refusal to abide by company policy, the company had no choice but to suspend him last Friday, pending further discussions. All we wanted to do was suspend him until we could have a sit-down meeting in person, as I communicated with him. However, his actions this weekend appeared to be an attempt to force my hand.

On Friday afternoon, May 10th, Rudy appeared on various non-WABC internet-streamed programs, including his own personal internet show, criticizing management and WABC itself, while making extreme accusations about a greater plot against him.

On his personal Sunday internet show, Rudy, in an attempt to deflect from his own conduct on WABC, mischaracterized our station’s issues with him, claiming that his suspension was based on our issues with Newsmax.

Rudy has publicly accused me of suppressing his free speech, calling my decision “unconstitutional” and a violation of the First Amendment. However, as a licensee of the FCC, the First Amendment grants me the rights and responsibilities to protect WABC. Each decision I make is guided by what I believe best serves the station, our listeners, and above all, the truth.

John Catsimatidis

May 13, 2024

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