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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Martin Bashir quits at MSNBC over Palin slur

MSNBC host Martin Bashir resigned Wednesday after making controversial comments on his show Nov. 15 about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“After meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments,” Mr. Bashir wrote in a statement. “I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers.”

On his show, Mr. Bashir had called Ms. Palin a “world-class idiot” for comparing U.S. indebtedness to China to slavery. He then quoted from the diary of a plantation owner who punished his slaves by having others defecate in their mouths, and suggested that Ms. Palin would be an “outstanding candidate” for such treatment.

He subsequently apologized on MSNBC, calling his comments “deeply offensive” and “wholly unacceptable.” But outrage at his comments continued, with commentators on the left and right criticizing Mr. Bashir for crossing a line. Ms. Palin canceled an interview with NBC’s “Today” that week and objected to his “evil, vile” comments on “Fox News Sunday” Nov. 24. Tim Crawford, treasurer of Ms. Palin’s political action committee, asked in a letter to the network what disciplinary measures would be taken for Mr. Bashir’s “appalling” statement.

Mr. Bashir took two weeks off following his apology as MSNBC said it was handling the matter internally. His resignation Wednesday will be effective immediately.

“I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC,” said MSNBC President Phil Griffin in a statement. “Martin is a good man and respected colleague—we wish him only the best.”

MSNBC also announced it had ended Alec Baldwin’s show “Up Late” last week. The show was suspended in early November after Mr. Baldwin made anti-gay comments to a photographer in New York.

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