NEW YORK — MSNBC fired ultra-right-wing radio show host Michael Savage on Monday after he attacked an unidentified caller over the weekend for being “one of the sodomites” who should “only get AIDS and die, you pig.”
The quick death of the TV version of syndicated radio program “The Savage Nation” — which aired only 15 times — throws into question MSNBC’s plan to woo new viewers by bringing this new breed of talk radio hosts to television.
Savage has a long record of making brash, virulent on-air comments.
But MSNBC said Savage crossed the line in his Saturday broadcast.
“In reaction to a hostile caller, Savage made an extremely inappropriate comment, and the decision to cancel the program was not difficult,” MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said.
MSNBC first bowed “The Savage Nation” on March 8. Show, which aired at 5 p.m. EDT, drew fair ratings. (Program was preempted for three weeks during the Iraq war.)
Running a total of 15 weeks, the program averaged 347,000 viewers. Numbers for Saturday’s show were not included.
Insiders at the cable news net said it was MSNBC prexy Erik Sorenson who made the decision to give Savage his walking papers.
Savage could not be reached for comment Monday. “The Savage Nation” will continue to air on the radio, where it is widely popular.
For MSNBC, the offending part of Saturday’s broadcast on occurred when a hostile caller phoned into the show. Savage quickly began calling the man a “sodomist.”
“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. Get trichinosis,” Savage said.
“OK, do we have another nice caller here who’s busy because he didn’t have a nice night in the bathhouse who’s angry at me today? Get me another one, put another sodomite on,” Savage said. “I don’t care about these bums. They mean nothing to me. They’re all sausages.”
Advocacy groups such as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) had warned MSNBC from the outset about taking Savage’s radio show and putting it on television.
GLAAD said MSNBC did the right thing in firing Savage.
“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,” the org said in a statement.