Martin Bashir, who first came to fame with a BBC interview in which he talked to Princess Diana about her failed marriage, has resigned from US network MSNBC following weeks of controversy over savage comments about Sarah Palin.
He announced his resignation in an email posted by Mediaite yesterday.
"Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation," the email read in part. "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 said : 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.”
The outspoken Bashir had been a host on the network since 2011 . But his comments last month in response to remarks about slavery by Palin started a huge row . Among other things, Bashir said that someone should defecate and urinate in Palin's mouth, a punishment delivered to some slaves. He apologised, but that was not enough.
Bashir's resignation came shortly after Alec Baldwin left 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 email in full read:
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.
Bashir gained fame in 1995 with the BBC's Panorama, interviewing Diana, Princess of Wales about her failed marriage] Since then he has conducted interviews with, among others, Louise Woodward, the five suspects in the Stephen Lawrence case, Michael Barrymore, Jeffrey Archer, Major Charles Ingram, and Joanne Lees.