By COLLEEN LONG,AP
Posted: 2007-08-15 10:57:54
NEW YORK (Aug. 15) - A member of the Rutgers women's basketball team sued Don Imus and CBS on Tuesday, claiming the radio personality's sexist and racist comments about the team damaged her reputation.
Kia Vaughn filed the lawsuit alleging slander and defamation of character in state Supreme Court in the Bronx the same day Imus settled with CBS Radio in a deal that pre-empts his threatened $120 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS. The settlement allows him to make a comeback bid at a new station.
Vaughn's lawsuit, believed to be the first by a player in the case, says Imus and his former co-host Bernard McGuirk, along with CBS Corp. and CBS Radio, are legally responsible for damage done to her character and reputation. There is no dollar amount listed in the suit.
Vaughn was humiliated, embarrassed and publicly mocked for the comments, the lawsuit claims. Her attorney, Richard Ancowitz, said: "The full effect of the damage remains to be seen."
"This is about Kia Vaughn's good name," Ancowitz said. "She would do anything to return to her life as a student and respected basketball player - a more simple life before Imus opened his mouth on April 4."
Imus referred to the basketball players as "nappy-headed hos" on his nationally syndicated radio program in April, becoming the target of heated protests. He was fired shortly after.
'Ho' is a slang term for a prostitute. After the comments were made, Vaughn said at a news conference: "Unless they've given 'ho' a whole new definition, that's not what I am."