MSNBC host Martin Bashir has resigned from the cable news channel after remarks he made about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin unleashed a storm of criticism.
Bashir says in a statement that he’s resigning so that his colleagues at MSNBC “will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.” Mediaite was the first to publish the statement.
Palin came under criticism last month after comparing the burden of the national debt to slavery in a speech. Bashir’s take on the speech, however, stood out for its harshness. He described the diary an 18th century plantation overseer named Thomas Thistlewood, who chronicled his merciless treatment of slaves — including instances where he forced other slaves to defecate in the mouths of rule-breakers.
“When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance,” Bashir said at the time. “She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.”
Bashir apologized on-air the next day, but calls for him to resign continued while he took time off during Thanksgiving week. “Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation,” his statement reads. “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.”