Penn Jillette says that people are “burying the lede” in the alleged incident that led to SiriusXM’s decision to fire “Opie and Anthony” host Anthony Cumia. He also argued that he’s never seen any evidence that suggests Cumia is racist as many of his critics have alleged.
“We are burying the lede of this story, which is that Anthony, who has a reputation for being a bit of a hot head, is carrying, comes up gets hit in the face and does not hurt the person back,” Jillette said during his "Penn's Sunday School" podcast this weekend.
“That is incredible. If I am in the position where I cross somebody who is carrying a gun and who can defend themselves and hurt me, and their choice is to write angry stuff on Twitter instead of fighting me back — wonderful. Gandhi! That’s Gandhi! … That is Martin Luther King," he continued.
Jillette went on to say that he has “never seen the slightest piece of evidence of you being anything but a kind and gentle” person.
Cumia was fired last week over racially-charged tweets he wrote after an incident where a black woman allegedly punched him several times after she ended up in a photo snapped by the radio host. He claims he was carrying a firearm at the time of the alleged assault but exercised restraint. So far, we only have one side of the story -- Cumia's.
In a “livid” state after the incident, Cumia took to Twitter and called the woman a “c**t” and a “savage.” He also alleged there is a serious violence problem within the black community. He later deleted the controversial tweets and explained on Monday that they “were being picked apart & used, out of ANY context, to f*** me over.”
Though he said he understands why “Opie and Anthony” fans are upset over Cumia’s firing, Jillette said it’s not a “free speech issue” as many are claiming. Instead, he said, it’s the “free market” at work.
“It’s a damn good time if you listen to ‘Opie and Anthony’ all the time, it’s a fine time to realize you aren’t going to listen anymore and stop Sirius,” he added. “That’s the way the free market works. Sirius has made a decision that it’s bad for their business to have Anthony on board. They may learn it was actually good for their business to have Anthony on board.”
Cumia has indicated that he plans on doing a podcast-style show from his Long Island home. Meanwhile, SiriusXM customers have apparently been canceling their subscriptions over his firing.
Listen to the segment below (Warning: Some strong language):