Radio talk show host Tom Leykis followed through on his promised “symbolic protest” Wednesday by donning a hard hat and driving a steamroller over a pile of about 200 Cat Stevens records, tapes and compact discs.
After playing the former recording star’s “Peace Train,” the KFI-AM personality told his listeners, “I hope to send a message back to Cat Stevens. I hope to send a message to the Ayatollah: We do not endorse murder. We endorse the right of the American people to read, think and say whatever they want to.”
A handful of protesters were on hand at what was supposed to be an undisclosed Compton site to shout, “Crush Khomeini, not records.”
Leykis’ stunt was a reaction to Stevens’ endorsements of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s death sentence against Salman Rushdie, author of “The Satanic Verses.”
Stevens, who became a Muslim convert in 1979 and changed his name to Yousuf Islam, has been quoted as telling students in England, “The Koran makes it clear: If someone defames the Prophet, then he must die.”
Leykis denied that he was engaging in censorship because he was not advocating taking Cat Stevens records off the shelves.