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Martin Bashir Apologizes For Joking About "Asian Babes" And Erections At Diversity Conference

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"Nightline" co-anchor Martin Bashir apologized Thursday for inappropriate remarks he made last week at a conference celebrating diversity among journalists.

New York reports that Bashir made an inappropriate joke about Asian women and implied that the attractive female Asian journalists in the room left him with an erection:

"I'm happy to be in the midst of so many Asian babes," he said onstage, with his 20/20 colleague Juju Chang nearby. "In fact, I'm happy that the podium covers me from the waist down." He then noted that a speech should be "like a dress on a beautiful woman -- long enough to cover the important parts and short enough to keep your interest -- like my colleague Juju's." ("See what I have to put up with?" she responded.)

ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider condemned the remark, saying, "This kind of remark has no place in any setting and Martin knows that and is truly sorry for his serious error in judgment."

Bashir, for his part, sent a letter of apology to the Asian American Journalists Association, acknowledging that his comment was "inappropriate" and "tasteless" and one that he came to "bitterly regret." The letter:

31 July 2008

Dear Madam,

I wanted to write and apologize for an inappropriate comment that I made at the AAJA dinner last Friday and for the offence that it caused to those present.

Upon reflection, it was a tasteless remark that I now bitterly regret.
I am grateful to you for the opportunity to address those present and hope that the continuing work of the organization will not by harmed or undermined by my moment of stupidity.

Yours truly,

M Bashir

Note: TVNewser reported this news with the commentary, "Maybe it was that bump on the head?" Somewhat tacky, given the brain tumor Bashir was diagnosed with shortly after that bump.