*Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC in the wake of his controversial comments about Sarah Palin, he announced in an email posted by Mediaite on Wednesday.
“Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation,” the email read. “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.”
In a statement, MSNBC president Phil Griffin paid tribute to Bashir: “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 is known for using dramatic language to voice his opinions at MSNBC, where he has been a host since 2011. But his comments in November in response to remarks about slavery by Palin touched off a firestorm. Among other things, Bashir suggested that Palin experience what some slaves had to endure – defecation and urination in her mouth. He apologized, but the comments continued to haunt him.
Bashir’s resignation came shortly after Alec Baldwin parted ways with MSNBC over anti-gay comments he made towards a photographer. At the time, many wondered why Baldwin, who was suspended for two weeks for statements he made off the air, was seemingly being punished more than Bashir, who was not given any immediate suspension.
Bashir’s departure leaves a hole in MSNBC’s afternoon lineup. Leading candidates for the slot include MSNBC contributor and guest host Joy Reid (who filled in for Bashir today) and the recently hired Ronan Farrow.
Below, read Bashir’s email in full:
After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around 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.
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.