Martin Bashir is exiting MSNBC after launching offensive remarks about Sarah Palin. The British journalist, who joined the news channel three years ago, has decided to leave his post as a commentator and host of the 4 P.M. hour on MSNBC.
"After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday," he said in a statement released on Wednesday, December 4. "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 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."
He apologized again for his 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."
MSNBC president Phil Griffin responded to Bashir's announcement with a separate 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 landed in hot water after calling Palin a "world-class idiot" in an on-air segment which discussed the former Alaska Governor's statement in which she compared the national debt to slavery. He then suggested a slave-like scatalogical punishment for her, including having someone defecate in her mouth.
"When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn't just prove her rank ignorance," Bashir said of Palin. "She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate." He later apologized for his harsh choice of words, but critics questioned MSNBC's silence in this issue.
Joy-Ann Reid will fill in for Bashir like she has been doing since Bashir took a leave around Thanksgiving holiday. Permanent replacement has not been announced yet.
Bashir is the second MSNBC host to leave the channel in the past few weeks. Alec Baldwin had his show "Up Late with Alec Baldwin" canceled in late November after allegedly throwing a gay slur at a paparazzo in New York City.