Santorum blames 'cancel culture' for CNN firing

Former CNN senior political commentator Rick Santorum blamed "cancel culture" for his firing from the network over the weekend, following disparaging comments he made regarding Native Americans. 

"CNN has a right to fire me if they don’t like what I’m saying or what I'm doing," Santorum said during an appearance on Fox News's "Hannity" on Monday night. "I have no animus at all toward CNN, I appreciate the opportunity that they gave me, but it does shows that the left is intolerant."

"They are worried, I’m sure that their viewership, which is obviously very left, was going to pay a price. And the intolerance of the left is really the issue in the cancel culture that is flowing from it. And I hear from a lot of liberals, in fact many CNN contributors, who talked to me afterward who were very, very concerned about the cancel culture that is now hitting them," Santorum said.

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CNN announced on Saturday it had severed ties with Santorum in the face off backlash that followed comments he made on the influence of Indigenous people's culture in the United States. 

"We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here," Santorum said at a Young America’s Foundation event in April. “I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but, candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

A CNN senior executive told HuffPost after Santorum's firing that the analyst, who appeared during much of the network's 2020 election night coverage, was "essentially benched anyway" because "none of the anchors wanted to book him.”

After news of his comments broke, Santorum went on one of the network's prime-time shows to say that he "misspoke" and that his words were taken "out of context." 

"What I was talking about is, as you can see from the run-up, I was talking about the founding of our country. I had given a long talk about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the ideas behind those, and that I was saying we sort of created that anew, if you will," Santorum said during a May 3 appearance on host Chris CuomoChris CuomoTucker Carlson says he lies when 'I'm really cornered or something' American describes being left behind in Kabul: 'I don't believe in anybody anymore' Chris Cuomo's revisionist history MORE's show. "And I was not trying to dismiss Native Americans."

During a virtual town hall on Tuesday, CNN President Jeff Zucker reportedly addressed Santorum's firing. 

"He was an important voice for the past five years," Zucker said during the event according to The Washington Post. "But his recent comments were inappropriate and racist."