ATLANTA – Commentator and activist Tavis Smiley has quit the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show” after 12 years because of the “hate” he got from the show’s mainly black audience over his criticism of Sen. Barack Obama, Joyner sobamaman.jpgaid.

Joyner shocked listeners when he announced Smiley’s departure from the influential radio show on Friday and said he believed Smiley “can’t take the hate” he’d received from listeners who support the Democratic presidential candidate.

“We (the show and its listeners) are so emotional about this Barack Obama candidacy. If you don’t say anything for Barack Obama, you’re considered to be a hater.”

“He (Smiley) loves black America and black America has been very critical of him,” Joyner said on his show, which has millions of listeners. He said he wanted Smiley to reconsider his decision.

Smiley criticized Obama, who would be the first black president, for declining to attend his annual “State of the Black Union” conference in February, a conference attended by Obama’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton.