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Radio company fires president who used racial slur

Drew Lauter appears in a still frame of an eyewitness video obtained by WSB-TV in Atlanta. (Still frame from WSB-TV broadcast, Graphic by The Desk)

Radio company iHeart Media says it has fired the president of its Atlanta operations after a video showed the executive repeatedly using a racial slur.

On Thursday, executives at iHeart Media said Drew Lauter was terminated after a video from last year showed him repeatedly using the slur in front of four other executives at a charity event.

The video was recorded by an iHeart Media employee who has since retained legal counsel, according to Atlanta television station WSB-TV (Channel 2). One of the executives who was near Lauter during his outburst was Black, the station said, adding that Lauter appeared inebriated when the video was recorded.

Employees alleged it was not the first time Lauter used racial slurs in front of subordinates.

“People are going into work, day in and day out, and they are enduring this type of environment, this type of discrimination,” Jason Castle, an attorney retained by the worker who filmed Lauter’s tirade, said in an interview.

A spokesperson for iHeart Media said the company took “allegations of this nature….very seriously,” and said Lauter’s alleged behavior goes “against our company values and our policies.”

Lauter joined iHeart Media in 2019, where he was tapped to oversee a cluster of radio stations in Madison, Wisconsin. One year later, he was promoted to president of the Atlanta radio group.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).