Rick Sanchez, a daytime anchor at CNN, was fired on Friday, after a radio interviewer claimed that he'd called
The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, a bigot. When Rick Sanchez went on to say that “everybody that runs CNN is a lot like Stewart,” the popular cable news network fired promptly "fired his ass."
CNN said in a statement Friday evening, “Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company. We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.”
Mr. Sanchez’s comments came Thursday during a contentious conversation with the comedian Pete Dominick on satellite radio. By Friday afternoon, a recording of the conversation had circulated widely on the Internet. Although Mr. Sanchez repeatedly suggested that he had experienced subtle forms of discrimination in his television career, he wholeheartedly refutes the claim that he ever called anyone a bigot.
In a statement issued to Hollywood Underground shortly after his firing, Sanchez said, "It's all a misunderstanding, really. I'm a huge Jon Stewart fan and I love my coworkers at CNN, which is why I called them all spigots not bigots. It's a common journalistic colloquialism, and it's a big-time compliment."
Sanchez elaborated saying, "Literally, a spigot is a tap or a faucet that controls the release of liquids, but in world of media, a spigot is an anchor or a correspondent who knows how to control the release of news to his or her viewers - when to release hot news, when to bring back cold news, and when to just let the warm news flow. Jon's the best in the world at that. He's a Class A spigot. A lot of people at CNN aspire to be the spigot Jon is."
"Listen," Sanchez added, "Spigot is the highest praise you can give someone in my field. If I didn't like Stewart, I would have called him a Stem Faucet or a Butterfly Valve. That would definitely have gotten me fired."
With regards to his comments that “a lot of elite Northeast establishment liberals” viewed him as someone “who belongs in the second tier and not the top tier,” Sanchez said, "Without a second tier, there is no top tier. It's just a tier. You might even call it a bottom tier. What I was trying to convey was my appreciation that liberals consider me an invaluable part of the tier system."
One of the co-hosts of the radio show, still under the impression Sanchez had used the world bigot, brought up the fact that Mr. Stewart was a Jew, saying to Mr. Sanchez that he was a minority “as much as you are.”
Mr. Sanchez answered sarcastically, “Yeah. Yeah. Very powerless people.” He let out a high-pitched laugh. When asked about this comment Sanchez said, "The radio hides a great deal from its viewers. With a very serious look on my face I said, "Yeah, yeah. Very powerless," and then I laughed uncomfortably, which I often do when I'm talking about sad global truths on the radio. It's a nervous habit, really."
In conclusion Sanchez stated, "I just hope that someday Jon Stewart and everyone at CNN can find it in their hearts to forgive me. Although my immediate future looks bleak, I hope that one day they will all be able to look at me and return the compliment by saying, 'Man, that Sanchez is one hell of a second tier spigot.'"