Fired CNN anchor Rick Sanchez says he wants to return to TV, but that all depends on whether potential employers – and perhaps more critically the public – buy his explanations for what he said about Jews, and then forgive him.
Less than two weeks since he was fired after calling Jon Stewart a “bigot” on a satellite radio show and complaining about the power wielded by Jews in the media business, Sanchez is mounting a multimedia apology campaign aimed at repairing his severely damaged image and paving the way for a return to television.
Or so he hopes.
The latest stop on Sanchez’s apology tour was an online chat moderated by the Washington Post in which he took questions from participants. According to an account from The Hollywood Reporter, one questioner asked Sanchez if he took it easy on movie star Mel Gibson or ‘Seinfeld’s Michael Richards when they themselves got in hot water for spouting racial slurs.
In his answer, Sanchez cast blame for the remarks he made about Jews on the host of the satellite radio program, Pete Dominick. “My comments were very different from the comments expressed by [Mel] Gibson [and others],” Sanchez said. “I did not bring religion into the conversation during my comments. I was only answering a question from the interviewer who suggested that Jewish people are not capable of being prejudiced. I argued inartfully that all of us are capable of being prejudiced whether we are Jewish, African-American, Asian or Hispanic.”
However, in his comments on the Oct. 1 radio show, Sanchez never mentioned African-Americans, Asians or Hispanics. After the radio show host noted that Stewart is Jewish – implying that Stewart was unlikely to be as bigoted as Sanchez had claimed he was – Sanchez laughed and said, “Yeah, very powerless people! I’m telling you that 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.”
In the online chat, Sanchez repeated what he’s been saying elsewhere in the days since his firing, including an interview with ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ where he strongly denied he’s anti-Semitic. “It’s very important to take into consideration that I have spent a large part of my career confronting anti-Semites,” Sanchez said in Monday’s chat. “My record is replete with instances where I’ve chased down neo-Nazis, called out Aryan nation leaders and taken on the KKK.”
It’s clear that Sanchez wants to return to TV, and believes that if he apologizes enough, then he’ll find a way back in.
“I relish the opportunity of being able to once again be host [of] a show on television or on radio,” he said. “I am flattered by the number of calls that my representatives have received about my future employment. Then I will sit down with my representatives and comb through any of those possibilities.”
He also said he’d be glad to go on Jon Stewart’s ‘Daily Show’ to apologize to Stewart on the air, but a Comedy Central spokesman said Tuesday that no such appearance has been scheduled. Sanchez has already phoned Stewart to apologize privately.
So what’s the verdict here? Do you believe Rick Sanchez’s apologies are sincere? Or do you think that underneath it all, he really does believe the things he said? And what about his career? Do you think the TV news business and the world at large will ever accept him back? Do his mistakes really merit a life sentence as an unemployable outcast from the industry in which he made his living? Or should Rick Sanchez be forgiven? What do you think?