ATLANTA (Reuters) - CNN and its high-profile anchor Rick Sanchez parted ways on Friday, a day after Sanchez made controversial comments about Jews on a radio show.
A brief statement from CNN said: “Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company. We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.” A story on CNN’s website said Sanchez “abruptly left the network on Friday afternoon.”
Sanchez made the remarks in a conversation on the Pete Dominick satellite radio show on Thursday. He called Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” a bigot.
Sanchez, a Cuban-American who grew up in a poor immigrant family in the Miami area, also said that “elite, Northeast establishment liberals” looked down on him.
“Everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah,” Sanchez said.
Later in the conversation, he tempered the remarks, retracting the term “bigot.”
It was the latest incident in which remarks deemed offensive to a racial or ethnic group were made by a public figure and amplified on social media and the Internet. Such controversies tripped up popular radio host Don Imus, former Virginia Republican Senator George Allen and Vice President Joe Biden, during his unsuccessful presidential campaign.
Sanchez’s CNN program, “Rick’s List,” aimed to bring viewers into a “national conversation” by using social media such as Twitter.
The company announced last week that it would replace U.S. chief Jon Klein, who presided over an era in which CNN fell behind rival News Corp’s Fox News in the ratings.
CNN said it would broadcast another program, “CNN Newsroom,” during Sanchez’s 3-5 p.m. local time slot for the foreseeable future.
Editing by Peter Cooney