Mississippi Bans NPR Show Over Comedian

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The state of Mississippi's public radio has banned nationally syndicated interview show Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The afternoon program, in which Gross holds relaxed chats with artists, academics, and celebrities, claims 4.5 million listeners across 450 public radio stations. Mississippi Public Broadcasting cited "recurring inappropriate content" in announcing that they will no longer allow the show. What was the offending content? Mississippi was mum, but MSNBC's Laura Conaway thinks she's found the answer:

The blog that first reported the news, Serenity Home, wondered whether that inappropriate content might be some of Fresh Air's recent gay-oriented interviews. I wondered whether it might be a Dave Weigel interview about the new right politics.

No, on both counts -- it's not the gays and it's not the Tea Parties. Here's the deal.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting shares a campus with offices for the state's colleges and universities, and we have learned that some of those offices play public radio for callers who are on hold. Recently, a caller got put on hold during Fresh Air and heard Terry Gross ask comedian Louis C.K. if he always has sex with his shirt on.

The caller complained, the station's zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate content kicked in, and away went Terry Gross and Fresh Air for Mississippi.

Here's the interview with Louis C.K. that got Terry Gross' Fresh Air banned from Mississippi:

Louis CK: But if I'm with a woman and she wants to be with me, she must like me. I definitely have sex with my T-shirt on, always. I haven't had sex without a shirt on, God, since I was about 23.
Terry Gross: Is that true?
Louis CK: Yeah, I just don't think that's fair. I mean, you know, let her think she's with somebody decent, you know? ... I do have sex sometimes on the show, and there's a rule that I have to be on my back.
Terry Gross: Why, because your stomach flattens?
Louis C.K.: Well, no, God, no. I'm not laying back in that bed thinking, "I look awesome right now." It's because I think I should always be the victim of the sex. I don't think anyone wants to see me looming over her. I think that's an upsetting image. And then also, the mother-dog stomach that I get when I'm ... you get the point.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.