By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com July 08 2003 12:00 AM ET
Following an apparent antigay attack by Michael Savage during his cable TV show Savage Nation on July 5, MSNBC announced today it would cancel the controversial program for good. "Frankly, it's about time," said Cathy Renna, news media director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a group that brought the attack to the attention of executives at MSNBC. "Michael Savage's latest rant made the clearest possible case for why this kind of behavior has no place on any reputable news network. MSNBC has now found itself broadcasting exactly the kind of verbal assaults GLAAD's been warning them about for the past five months. And to their credit, MSNBC and NBC News have backed up their promises to hold Savage accountable for his behavior."
According to GLAAD, the July 5 broadcast of Savage Nation featured the talk show personality, who also hosts a popular radio program, cutting off a self-identified gay caller whose comments were edited out of the broadcast. Savage then referred to the caller as a "sodomist" and a "sodomite" and said, among other things, "You should only get AIDS and die, you pig." GLAAD brought Savage's remarks to the attention of MSNBC executives this morning and called on them to hold Savage accountable for his attacks. "Savage's reprehensible attack violated even the minimal journalistic standards that had been applied to his show," Renna said. "By offering him a show in the first place despite his history of racist, sexist, and homophobic rhetoric, MSNBC ultimately had to choose between keeping Savage and maintaining its integrity as a news organization."
After MSNBC announced on February 12 that it had offered Savage the weekly program, GLAAD launched a public education campaign to call attention to Savage's practice of making hateful remarks on his radio program. That campaign led to the formation of a broad-based coalition of organizations that called on MSNBC, NBC News, and other corporations to reconsider their decisions to associate their brands with Savage's attacks. In a March 7 St. Petersburg Times article, columnist Eric Deggans asked MSNBC president and general manager Erik Sorenson what might happen if Savage engaged in his trademark verbal assaults on gays and other minorities, including use of terms such as "turd world" or "homosexual perversion." Sorenson replied, "Those statements as quoted by GLAAD are not appropriate for MSNBC. Those kinds of statements will not be permitted. And if they do happen, they won't happen more than once."