CNN has split with Reza Aslan, canceling his show Believer, after he called Donald Trump a “piece of shit” on Twitter. Aslan said as much after Trump called for a “Travel Ban” following the recent terrorist attacks in London. He later apologized for his remarks. (Aslan. Not Trump. Trump doesn’t apologize for anything.)
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) June 4, 2017
The network said Friday that it has “decided to not move forward with production” on Aslan’s “Believer” series.
CNN responded in a statement: “We are pleased that he has apologized for his tweets. That kind of discourse is never appropriate.”
But this is excessively harsh. It’s one thing to fire Kathy Griffin for a graphic image with a model of the President’s severed head, but to cut someone from the CNN payroll over a tweet like Aslan’s?
Those people never get fired. But someone who got angry (and honest) about Trump’s actions? How on earth is that too far? It’s pathetic and cowardly on CNN’s part. Go ahead and issue a statement saying his comments were “uncalled for” and then be done with it. Or just say the show had bad ratings.
As it stands, Trump calls for open discrimination of Muslims, and CNN will pay people to defend it. But when a TV host says “shit” and calls Trump an embarrassment, CNN thinks that’s irredeemable.
It’s completely backwards. You don’t have to be a fan of Aslan to say CNN’s reaction was hypocritical, overblown, and absurd.
Incidentally, Aslan just posted this reaction on Twitter:
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) June 9, 2017
… in these politically charged times, 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.
I imagine he wrote all that with clenched teeth.
As many commenters online have said, there are so many better reasons to “fire” Aslan. This tweet isn’t one of them.