After suggesting someone do something untoward to Sarah Palin, and weathering a storm of criticism since, MSNBC host Martin Bashir resigned from the network.
"Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation," Bashir said in a statement released Wednesday. The now-former host said the controversy was a distraction to his colleagues, who he thanked, along with the viewers. "I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future," he said.
Just over two weeks ago, on the "Clearing The Air" segment of his self-titled afternoon show, Bashir, a Brit whose parents herald from Pakistan, lashed out Palin over her comments comparing the national debt to slavery. He called her America's "resident dunce," a "world class idiot," and then suggested someone should urinate on her face and/or poop in her mouth. Bashir apologized on air, and Palin accepted, but not before calling his comments "evil" and "vile." She stood by her slavery remarks.
Bashir said her analogy was "abominable to anyone who knows anything about [slavery's] barbaric history.” Bashir told the story about Thomas Thistlewood's diary, in which he describes, brutally, how he punished his slaves. In one graphic instance, after torturing one slave, as part of the punishment another slave was order to "s-h-i-t in his mouth," as Bashir explained on air. In a similar instance, a slave was ordered to urinate in a punished slave's mouth and eyes, after the slave was already beaten and tortured.
“I could go on, but you get the point,” Bashir said. “When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.”
MSNBC's President Phil Griffin was quick to release a gracious statement accepting Bashir's resignation. "Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC," Griffin said. "Martin is a good man and respected colleague — we wish him only the best."
Here's Bashir's full resignation statement, via Mediaite:
After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday.
Upon further reflection, and 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.
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 – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast.’
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.