By Judy Kurtz
Martin Bashir is resigning from his eponymous show on MSNBC, after catching heat for vulgar comments he made last month about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).
A statement posted Wednesday from the British journalist says following his on-air apology after the incident, Bashir asked for some “additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday.”
He writes, “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.” The website Mediaite was the first to report news of the resignation.
In remarks on his program in November, Bashir, 50, lambasted Palin for comments the former vice presidential candidate had made comparing America’s debt to slavery.
Citing the personal diary of a plantation overseer named Thomas Thistlewood, Bashir said, “In 1756, he records that a slave named Darby ‘catched eating kanes had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.’”
Bashir later said on the show, “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.”
In his Wednesday resignation announcement, Bashir said he “deeply regrets” his on-air remarks and will “work hard at making constructive contributions in the future.”
MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement, “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.”
Bashir leaves just weeks after actor Alec Baldwin left the network after a controversy involving a gay slur he directed at paparazzi photographers.