CNN drops Reza Aslan’s ‘Believer’ days after he insults Donald Trump with an epithet

Theology expert and author Reza Aslan hosted “Believer” on CNN but the show was cancelled after one season. CREDIT: CNN

This was posted on Friday, June 9, 2017 by Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com from his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Reza Aslan lost his CNN show “Believer” just days after he Tweeted about President Donald Trump using the profane phrase “piece of [excrement.]”

The network said Friday that it “decided to not move forward with production” on Aslan’s “Believer” series.

Aslan, an Iranian-American scholar, became upset after Trump’s Tweets insulting the Mayor of London and calling for a travel ban following terrorist acts there this past weekend.

His Tweet at the time: “This piece of s— is not just an embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency. He’s an embarrassment to humankind.”

“I lost my cool and responded to him in a derogatory fashion,” Aslan said in an apology the next day. “That’s not like me. 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 apologize for my choice of words.”

His show where he explored different religions debuted in March. CNN announced a second season last month and production was already underway for new episodes.

He was not an employee of CNN. His show was produced by an outside company.  It took a few days for the two sides to unravel his contract.

Aslan released a statement today focused on graciousness, not bitterness.

“Obviously I am very disappointed in this decision,” Aslan wrote. ” ‘Believer’ means a great deal to me and to the countless viewers it’s reached. Its message of religious tolerance and exploration is extremely important right now. I am deeply grateful to CNN for giving me the opportunity to launch the show and to amplify my voice on their network.”

“However, in these politically charged times,” he added, “the tenor of our nation’s discourse has become complicated, and I recognize that CNN needs to protect its brand as an unbiased news outlet. Similarly, I need to honor 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. I wish CNN all the best.”

This move comes on the heels of CNN cutting ties with Kathy Griffin last month for posting video and photos of her holding what appeared to be a bloody, decapitated head of Trump. She had co-hosted the New Year’s show with Anderson Cooper for the past decade.

 


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