May 11, 2019

Sirius XM fires distinguished black host

Sam Smith - In a bizarre and unexplained manner, Sirius XM laid off and then fired its distinguished black host, Mark Thompson. The action came after Thompson had been confronted by a activist with ADOS - Americans Descendants of Slavery - which actually is believed to have ties to anti-immigrant and other rightwing groups. After the ADOS activist refused to let Thompson move on, the host of Make It Plain shoved him in a manner that may have provoked the action by Sirius XM. But the radio network has declined to offer any explanation.

I have known and admired Thompson - who is also a minister- for decades and have been a repeated guest on his various talk shows. I also worked with him on a NAACP group he had formed to train DC police officers to act more responsibly in cross-ethnic situations.

Lauren, Victorial Burke, Black Press of America In a letter dated April 23, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) wrote to Sirius XM CEO James Meyer highlighting the issue of diversity at the billion-dollar company.

"We write to express our deep concern about the lack of African American representation in the C-suite and on the board of Directors at Sirius XM Radio. In February 2019, Sirius XM announced the finalization of its acquisition of Pandora Media for $3.5 billion, forming the world's largest audio entertainment company," the letter from the Congressional Black Caucus began.

"We believe a media company of this size and reach should be much further along in ensuring diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership and agree that Sirius XM has a great deal of work to do," the letter pointed out.

Sirius XM has recently come under pressure on social media around the issue of diversity, as Mark Thompson, who hosts the popular show "Make It Plain,'' was inexplicably taken off the air during the second week in April.

"We find your corporation's lack of diversity especially problematic given the fact that African Americans and Hispanics drive consumption among streaming services. According to Nielsen, 52% of African Americans and 45% of Hispanics drive consumption among streaming services," the Bass, Lee, Butterfield letter detailed. The letter also pointed out that their staffs met with Sirius XM officials in late January.

Policon -  Mark began his broadcast career in 1988 with Radio One, Inc. under the guidance of Cathy Hughes. His show, Make It Plain, was the first talk show to sign on XM Satellite Radio in 2001… He is the first and only African American talk host on SiriusXM Progress… .

His ministry, broadcasting and activism have taken him to Sanford, Florida, Ferguson, Missouri, Moral Monday in North Carolina-where he was arrested and jailed live on air-and even to South Africa, where he received the name, Matsimela Mapfumo, which means "firmly rooted soldier."

As a Georgetown University freshman undergrad in 1985, he organized the shanty town which led to the University's divestment from apartheid South Africa. … Also, while at Georgetown, he worked with one of his mentors, Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson, Jr., as a manager for the Hoyas. Later matriculating at the University of the District of Columbia, he was organizer and spokesperson for KIAMSHA, the 1990 eleven-day student protest and boycott, and was named one of the "100 Most Powerful People in Washington" by Regardie's magazine.

In 1993, after organizing the weekly civil disobedience on Capitol Hill that helped win the first-ever Congressional vote on DC Statehood, Mark was jailed for 20 days. Both the Stand Up for Democracy Coalition and Mark received the United Nations Association 2004 Human Rights Award…

Mark chaired the NAACP Metropolitan Police and Criminal Justice Review Task Force for the DC Branch. In that capacity, he co-authored legislation establishing the Board and Office of Police Complaints, and facilitated the beginning of an unprecedented study on racial profiling. He also taught courses in diversity awareness and cultural sensitivity at the DC Police Academy.

Media Matters -  American Descendents of Slavery  is an obscure pro-reparations group that has been attacking prominent Black progressives who also support reparations. There is evidence that ADOS is actually advancing a right-wing agenda, and while it calls itself progressive, it pushes anti-immigrant views. Supporters of ADOS have carried out harassment campaigns against political activist, rapper, and reparations supporter Talib Kweli and against progressive radio host Mark Thompson. Thompson is in favor of reparations, but he criticized ADOS on MSNBC and got into an altercation with an ADOS supporter who was harassing him and now ADOS supporters are attempting to get him fired from his job at Sirius XM.


MI. Mike. said...

thanks Sam Love Mark this sucks

Val Nemcek said...

What is happening? This is an amazing thing for Sirius to do. Hope Mark Thompson is back at work soon. If not, I am cancelling.
Thanks, Sam Smith, for giving us this info.

Unknown said...

Africa the Great is not associated with #ADOS. He is a long time grassroots activist of Newark NewJersey.

Anonymous said...

Please retract this article, as it is a false smear campaign. ADOS is not a right wing, anti immigrant organization. Dr's Kevin Cosby and Sandy Darrity of Duke University work with Yvette Carnell and Attorney Antonio Moore to push for not only reparations, but accountability of elected officials. I suggest you go to and actually get the facts. This article is purely slanderous. The activist who Mark Thompson assaulted is not affiliated with ADOS. Furthermore go to YouTube and watch the actual footage where you will see that Mark Thompson initiated the assault.