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New details and audio on Severin's suspension

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severin.jpgA few new details have emerged behind this weeks' suspension of Jay Severin, the right-wing talk show host on Boston's WTKK-FM radio station. In talking about a lawsuit involving a CEO being sued for sexual harassment by two former female employees, Severin said he had slept with his own interns and didn't understand the fuss: "We'd have drinks together at the end of the day and we'd spend the night together. I should feel badly about that?" The highly-paid drive-time host, who was pulled off the air in 2009 for calling Mexican immigrants "primitives," "leeches," and exporters of "women with mustaches and VD," has been suspended again, indefinitely, according to a station spokeswoman. "Jay was suspended after we received serious complaints about the recent content of his show," said Heidi Raphael of Greater Media Inc. "The matter is currently under review." Raphael wouldn't discuss what Severin said to upset listeners and perhaps advertisers, but we're told it may be related to a comment Severin made while discussing sexual harassment in the workplace. Discussing the case of American Apparel CEO Dov Charney, who is being sued for sexual harassment by two former female employees, Severin called the women "whores and liars" and said they belong in jail. He went on to say that, years ago, he had slept with interns. "Those girls that got to sleep with me got to know their boss better, they got to go on trips, they got to travel in some cases to various parts of the world, to see things and meet people that they never would have seen or done...These were not whores. These were Ivy League graduates, young women or interns from Ivy League institutions who were interested in politics and government." (Emily Rooney is playing the audio on her show tonight.) A source at WTKK was surprised by the suspension and characterized the comment as mild in comparison to the misogynistic, borderline racist rantings found elsewhere on the radio. Severin, who signed a seven-year contract in 2006, has not been on the air since Tuesday. In a voicemail message today, the host said he was "not at liberty" to talk and referred us to his lawyer, George Tobia, who declined to comment. Severin, who's one of the highest-paid talk-show hosts in the city making close to $1 million a year, has lagged in the ratings of late. As a result, the station has begun introducing a series of cohosts. One of them, Michael Bower, was Severin's replacement today and yesterday, the first day of his suspension. Nothing if not provocative, Severin has a long history of using strong language - he's called Hillary Clinton a "lying bitch" - and sometimes it gets him into trouble. Following his month-long suspension in 2009, Severin returned with an apology for his "hurtful, unkind, and wrong" commentary. "Most especially to the members of the Mexican community and Mexican-American community, I regret my remarks and apologize for them," he said, reading from a statement. To hear some of the audio of the latest Severin controversy, here you go:

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This blog features the latest local and national celebrity news from The Boston Globe's Names column team. Check back for the latest updates.
Mark Shanahan joined The Boston Globe in 2003, having worked previously at the Portland Press Herald, where he covered City Hall, and the Lewiston Sun-Journal, where he was the education reporter. A Northampton native and graduate of Bates College, Shanahan enjoys the usual - books, music, movies, etc. - as well as the unusual.
shanahan@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MarkAShanahan
Meredith Goldstein has worked for the Globe since 2003, covering everything from nightlife to New Kids. She keeps her eyes peeled for celebrity juice, and also writes Love Letters, a Boston.com blog for hopeful (and hopeless) romantics. Meredith chats about love problems every Wednesday at 1 p.m. If you see Justin Timberlake or someone like him at a local eatery, please e-mail her immediately. mgoldstein@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MeredithGoldste

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