After Michael Savage, a popular radio talk show host who did a weekend TV show for the cable
channel MSNBC, referred to an unidentified caller to his show Saturday as a "sodomite" who should "get AIDS and die," the cable channel wasted no time in canning him. "His comments were extremely inappropriate and the decision was an easy one," MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said. There was no immediate comment from Savage, according to a spokesman at his office in California.
The brash, tough-talking Savage has engendered much criticism from gays and lesbians with antigay comments he has made on his radio program, including "the homosexual agenda wants your children." The televised version of The Savage Nation premiered March 8 despite the protests of such advocacy groups as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which brought Savage's recent antigay tirade to the attention of executives at MSNBC. With the show, aired at 5 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, Savage didn't translate into a television hit. He increased the ratings for the time slot marginally, according to MSNBC. But in the wake of a boycott by several groups, some of whom Savage is currently suing, most major advertisers pulled their ads from his TV show.
The incident that resulted in his firing began innocently enough: Savage was taking viewer phone calls about airline horror stories, and a male caller began talking about smoking in the bathroom. "Half an hour into the flight, I need to suggest that Don and Mike take your..." the caller said, before he was cut off and his words became unintelligible. "So you're one of those sodomists. Are you a sodomite?" Savage asked. The caller replied: "Yes, I am." "Oh, you're one of the sodomites," Savage said. "You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it." He asked for another phone caller who "didn't have a nice night in the
bathhouse who's angry at me today." These "bums mean nothing to me," he added.
GLAAD spokeswoman Cathy Renna said of Savage's firing: "It's about time. "This latest attack made the clearest case for why Savage has no place on any reputable news network. MSNBC witnessed firsthand exactly the kind of verbal assaults GLAAD's been warning them about for the past five months, and to their credit, they backed up their promises to hold Savage accountable."