WABC Owner Catsimatidis Details Giuliani First Amendment Fallout


As 77WABC makes national headlines for the firing of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani over repeated attempts to discuss discredited claims about the 2020 presidential election, Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis is speaking out.

Catsimitidis detailed his decision-making process concerning Giuliani’s role at WABC amidst legal pressures and public statements by Giuliani that tested the boundaries of the station’s policy and FCC regulations.

In a statement, Catsimatidis said, “I bought WABC at a time when media outlets wanted to stay away from associating with Rudy. I gave Rudy his own show and continued to support him despite the criticism I received as a result of this decision.”

In a move to uphold WABC’s integrity and adhere to legal standards, Catsimitidis explained how the station instructed its on-air talent to avoid suggesting the 2020 election results were invalid. “Our lawyers came to the decision, in order to protect the station, to direct all on-air talent ‘not to state, suggest or imply that the election results are not valid or that the election is not over.’ This has remained the policy of the station ever since and is wholly consistent with industry-wide policies.”

“Last Tuesday, May 7th, Mayor Giuliani gave me an ultimatum. He texted me that I had to double his airtime and compensation by May 28th. I told him I wanted to sit down in person to discuss this. He repeated his demand on Wednesday, May 8th.”

Giuliani was again instructed not to discuss Dominion Voting Systems or the legitimacy of the 2020 Presidential Election, but he did once more on May 9, leading to his show being pulled from the air.

“In light of all of the above, management held a meeting at noon on Friday [May 10] to decide how to proceed. My primary concern, as a responsible journalist, was that Rudy would continue talking about the electronic voting machines, as he attempted to do on Thursday. Of course, nobody here has ever been fired for free speech or talking about the
election, even though in my mind, talking about the election of 2020 is like talking about who shot Kennedy.”

Given his recent ultimatum, his direct violation of an agreement he signed to not talk about electronic voting machines, and his absolute refusal to abide by company policy, the company had no choice but to suspend him last Friday, pending further discussions. All we wanted to do was suspend him until we could have a sit-down meeting in person, as I communicated with him. However, his actions this weekend appeared to be an attempt to force my hand.”

Over the weekend, Giuliani criticized WABC management and made severe accusations on various internet-streamed shows, including his own. Giuliani said, “What John Catsimatidis has done is disgraceful. With the pretense that he was building some kind of a First Amendment station, he blew a hole in the First Amendment that’s so big you can’t even find it. You can’t tell somebody not to talk about the 2020 presidential election and tell me that you have a respect for free speech.”

By Sunday, Giuliani told The New York Post his suspension was instead due to WABC issues with Conservative media outlet Newsmax.

“Rudy has publicly accused me of suppressing his free speech, calling my decision ‘unconstitutional’ and a violation of the First Amendment. However, as a licensee of the FCC, the First Amendment grants me the rights and responsibilities to protect WABC. Each decision I make is guided by what I believe best serves the station, our listeners, and above all, the truth.”


  1. He should have kept his mouth shut because he couldn’t change anything anyway. Since he didn’t they rammed it shut. Maybe if he gets on his knees and begs for mercy they might give him a job for 100 grand instead of 400

  2. People need to read what the first amendment actually says. It doesn’t say what Rudy thinks it says. The first amendment and the constitution is about the government, not about radio stations.


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