Bashir Resigns From MSNBC Over Palin Remarks
Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC after suggesting on his show that former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin eats faeces.
The British-born TV host made the controversial remarks last month after Mrs Palin, a former Alaska governor, compared the US indebtedness to China with slavery.
Mr Bashir has since apologised for the comments, but has failed to quell the uproar.
"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.
"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."
Mr Bashir added: "I deeply regret what was said."
His resignation, effective immediately, was accepted by MSNBC president Phil Griffin, who in a statement thanked him "for three great years" with the network.
"Martin is a good man and respected colleague - we wish him only the best," Mr Griffin said.
There was no immediate reaction from Mrs Palin, who had previously accused MSNBC of condoning Mr Bashir's comments.
Mr Bashir criticised Mrs Palin and her "long-diseased mind" after playing a video of her speech about China.
He told the story of Thomas Thistlewood, a former overseer at a plantation who described in diaries how he dealt with wayward slaves by, in one case, having another slave defecate in the mouth of the miscreant.
In another case, someone urinated in the face of a slave being punished.
"When Mrs Palin invokes slavery," Mr Bashir said, "she doesn't just prove her rank ignorance, she confirms (that) if anyone truly qualifies for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate."
Mr Bashir made headlines with an exclusive interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1995, where she famously said her marriage to Prince Charles was "a bit crowded".
"There were three of us in this marriage" she said, in a reference to Camilla Parker-Bowles.
In his controversial documentary Living With Michael Jackson, Mr Bashir gained unprecedented access to the late pop star's estate and family.
The documentary, which aired on ABC in 2003 to a huge audience, caused a stir as Jackson said he still let children sleep at his home despite a settlement over abuse allegations years before.
Mr Bashir joined ABC in 2004 and moved to MSNBC in 2010.
Mr Bashir's exit from MSNBC took place shortly after Alec Baldwin was suspended from his weekly talk show after just two weeks for using an anti-gay slur in a New York City street encounter.