December 4th, 2013
04:26 PM ET
4 years ago

Bashir resigns from MSNBC over Palin comments

(CNN) - MSNBC host Martin Bashir said in a statement Wednesday that he would resign from the network following comments he made about former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Bashir apologized on-air last month after suggesting that Palin deserved graphic punishment for comparing U.S. foreign debt to slavery. Palin later canceled an appearance on NBC's "Today."

Following intense backlash for the incendiary comments, Bashir elected to temporarily take additional time off during 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," he said in the 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 – 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."

The president of MSNBC, Phil Griffin, also issued a statement confirming that Bashir would step down and wishing him the best.

"Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with msnbc. Martin is a good man and respected colleague – we wish him only the best."

Palin responded to Bashir's initial comments last month.

"Everybody in life takes shots," she said "Fox News Sunday." "I don't have to accept his words – his vile, evil comments. So they don't have to affect me. I move on and I charge forth."

Also last month, the network discontinued former host Alec Baldwin's show "Up Late" after he reportedly yelled anti-gay slurs at a photographer outside his home in New York. Baldwin later apologized for the angry rant in a post to MSNBC's website.

After his show was canceled, Baldwin called on the network to also force Bashir to leave, pointing to his controversial comments.

"Martin Bashir's on the air, and he made his comment on the air!" Baldwin told Gothamist last week.

Bashir's resignation was first reported by Mediaite.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (813 Responses)
  1. Padraig

    What he said was outrageous and I, a proud progressive liberal, do not agree with his disgusting suggestion, as much as I despise Sarah Palin and have few kind words for anyone on the far right, man or woman. There are just some places one does not go, and Bashir went to a very dark and ugly place. Leave that sort of thing to Fox "News" hosts and right-wing hate speech radio. It has no place among progressives. We are better than that.

    December 5, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. derp

    Free speech is protected from the government; it doesn't mean your employer can't hold you accountable for things you say while on the air.

    December 5, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. Loathstheright

    He was right, Palin is a twit.

    December 5, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. notogop

    Bashir's statement seems as reasonable to me as most of what Palin says all of the time. IMHO, he even had more justification to say what he said than what Palin says, unless you count stupidity as a valid excuse/reason on her part.

    December 5, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |

    He got fired because he is a dumb Democrat. But being a Democrat is dumb in itself. Sarah Palin is 1000% smarter then our clueless President.

    December 5, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Kay

    It shouldn't matter what you think of Sarah Palin or anyone for that matter, those remarks were just plain hateful and there is no place for this kind of vile behavior.

    December 5, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    This man is a twit, and got what he deserves. If I had the power I would deport his foul mouth azz back to India, not Britain.

    December 5, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Linda

    This is not fair Mr.Bashir should keep his job.All the crap that fox news gets away with.Just so you know palin is a ding bag.

    December 5, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Wayne

    "Following intense backlash for the incendiary comments" Did these same people that are part of the backlash complain when Palin distorts, lies and slanders Obama and Democrats. BET NOT!!! What she said she should apologize for.

    December 5, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Rick Green

    He may have been wrong for saying it on air, but ee is absolutely right. Sarah Palin is an idiot. When will people understand that she doesn't have an original thought or idea. She only used the slavery reference because it was the latest right wing "buzz phrase". Stop giving these people attention and focus on the issues facing our country. If you stop putting a camera in front of her, she and the rest of the right lunatics will stop talking. Oh what a wonderful world it would be then...........

    December 5, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Guest

    Bashir has always been low class. Just more evidence of that.

    December 5, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. rmiller

    The right's faux outrage on this is laugable. Anyone remember how Limbaugh treated Sandra Fluke? Bashir's comments, while childish and stupid, are more of an example of pressure on journalists to make extreme comments for ratings than any real desire see Palin injured.

    December 5, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. liz

    I think this is completely unnecessary he was explaining what a white slave owner did to a Slave who tried to escape no no need to repeat it vs Sarah Palin's comments about racism/slavery and if Sarah Palin and the right
    ( not to mention MSNBC) didn't all have shit for brains they would understand that.

    December 5, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. joan

    Palin can say what SHE WANTS TO SAY, so why is it impossible for tv hosts? This is such an unfair thing to do. I am sick and tired of MSNBC firing hosts that have an opinion.
    I stopped watching this channel after someone else got fired, and this just shows I was correct in never watching MSNBC AGAIN.

    December 5, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. dmckeown

    Maybe we take what people say too seriously, like when Barack Obama said "Change" and we believed him

    December 5, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. oreo

    What is the only thing worse than a neocon? A Progressive.

    December 5, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. Bob from Accounting

    As a Republican I am thoroughly impressed by the way that MSNBC handled this issue. Not often will you hear me singing their praises but they responded appropriately and it seems that Bashir was sincerely regretful for his emotional slip.

    Baldwin isn't doing himself any favors with his whining, but then again could we expect anything more from him?

    December 5, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. davecu

    Too way too much time as the network calculated their best response.
    His comments were vile at best and the consequences should have been swift!

    December 5, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Lord Toronaga

    Imagine....... Bashir has the nerve to call someone else a stupid twit. HA. What exactly makes him a judge on the intelligence of others ? And if anyone has a problem with that TWIT getting fired...take it up with MSNBC. FoxNews has nothing to do with it. And I have never heard FOXNEWS say anything as vile as the left does everyday on MSNBC.

    December 5, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. Tim from Rhode Island

    I am a moderate democrat, and not much of a Sarah Palin fan. But Martin Bashir's mean-spirited, over-sensationalized, disgusting comments have no place in our political dialog. American politics is polarized enough, without having some overzealous, third-rate journalist stooping to new levels of hate.

    December 5, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. billyboy

    Why did this story take so long to get posted on CnN and why did it take a back seat to other un-newsworthy items? Anyone knows that if Sarah Palin had said the same about Bashir, she'd be smeared over every leftie website and news blog. There might even be civil war. Keep up the good work, CnN. You keep showing us what you're made of. You're a step ahead of MSNBC, as if that's saying anything.

    December 5, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Illinois Mike

    Everytime Palin opens her mouth she is her own worst enemy. However, what that greasy little runt Bashir said crossed too many lines to dignify any civilized response. Any responsible grown up in a management position would have fired him the next day at the latest. MSNBC and it's parent corporation are journalistic frauds and only make propaganda factories like fauxnews look good.

    December 5, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Barry

    So Palin can say whatever she wants to say and we have to accept it? The news commentator states his opinion and gets slammed. What ever happened to freedom of speech, and Palin is a Twit!

    December 5, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. JohnRJohnson

    Martin Bashir never learned the lesson that getting upset about what Sarah Palin says is a waste of time, energy and emotion. People who love that woman will never be persuaded to feel otherwise, especially when the criticism is as extreme as her rhetoric often is. All it does is make them even more entrenched in their views.

    December 5, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. CJ

    I don't care about Bashir or Palin. They are both irrelevant.

    December 5, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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