MSNBC's drive to out-Fox the Fox News Channel hit a snag on Monday when the cable news channel fired its Saturday afternoon host, syndicated radio talker Michael Savage, for anti-gay remarks he made during Saturday's broadcast of his show, ''The Savage Nation.'' ''His comments were extremely inappropriate, and the decision was an easy one,'' MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said of the pink-slipping of Savage after just four months and 15 broadcasts at the channel.
The offending remarks came during a discussion of airline security, a caller made what Savage apparently regarded as a disparaging remark (it was bleeped from the broadcast). The host responded, ''So you're one of those sodomists -- are you a sodomite?'' When the caller said yes, Savage said, ''Oh, you're one of the sodomites. 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.''
It's not been a good few weeks for Savage (real name: Michael Weiner), whose radio show also lost key stations in San Francisco (his home base) and New York in recent contract disputes. On Tuesday, he issued an apology, saying he'd thought that the caller was a prankster from a rival radio show, and that their exchange had taken place off the air. ''I especially appeal to my many listeners in the gay community to accept my apologies for any inadvertent insults which may have occurred,'' he said. Conservatives, fear not: MSNBC still has the outspoken Joe Scarborough on the payroll to attract a right-leaning audience.