A second television personality has been sacked by an American news network within 10 days for making controversial statements about President Donald Trump. US media reported that CNN first severed ties with Kathy Griffin and has now sacked Reza Aslan, who showed a documentary that allegedly promoted xenophobia and Hinduphobia and outraged the Hindu community in the US. Griffin’s contract was terminated after the comedian allowed herself to be photographed holding a prop of Trump’s severed head. And Aslan was fired after he called Trump a “piece of s—” on Twitter last weekend.
Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi today welcomed the decision by the CNN to fire Aslan. “By cancelling the show ‘Believer’ and terminating its relationship with Aslan, CNN has taken a step in the right direction towards toning down the inflammatory rhetoric we’ve witnessed across the country,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. “CNN and all of us need to work together towards a more civil dialogue and a culture of tolerance to promote a greater understanding of Hinduism and other religions,” he said.
Krishnamoorthi had lodged a strong protest after CNN aired the ‘Believer’ series. Early this year, many from the Indian-American community had held protests outside CNN offices against Aslan over the ‘Believer’ series showing the Aghori sect as reflective of Hinduism. Aslan tweeted in vulgar language against Trump after the US president used the London Bridge attack to promote his travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries.
He has apologised for the tweet. “I lost my cool and responded to him in a derogatory fashion. That’s not like me,” Aslan said in a statement. “I should have used better language to express my shock and frustration at the president’s lack of decorum and sympathy for the victims of London. I apologise for my choice of words,” he said.
Later, CNN said they were “pleased that he has apologised for his tweets. That kind of discourse is never appropriate.” Aslan said he was disappointed by CNN’s decision to terminate his contract. “However, in these politically charged times, the tenor of our nation’s discourse has become complicated, and I recognise that CNN needs to protect its brand as an unbiased news outlet,” he wrote. “Similarly, I need to honour my voice. I am not a journalist. I am a social commentator and scholar. And so I agree with CNN that it is best that we part ways. I look forward to partnering with another platform in the future to continue to spread my message,” Aslan said.