Ed Schultz apologized for his comments about Laura Ingraham on Wednesday, before beginning a week-long suspension from MSNBC.
Appearing at the top of his Wednesday show, Schultz said that calling Ingraham a "right-wing slut" on his Tuesday radio show was "vile and inappropriate," and apologized unreservedly to her, as well as to his wife, his family and MSNBC.
"I am deeply sorry, and I apologize," he said. "It was wrong, uncalled for and I recognize the severity of what I said."
After learning of the comments, MSNBC met with Schultz and the two sides agreed that he would be suspended for a week without pay from his program. It marks the third such punishment that the network has meted out to a host in the last year. In November, both Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough were suspended for violating MSNBC's policy about political donations. (Olbermann, of course, is no longer with the network.)
However, Schultz's punishement is more severe; neither Scarborough nor Olbermann were suspended for something they said, let alone something they said on a non-MSNBC program, and both spent fewer days off the air than Schultz will.
Schultz called the situation "the lowest of low for me," and said, "I have never been in this position before to the point where it has affected so many people." He revealed that had tried to contact Ingraham but could not reach her.
After finishing his apology, Schultz handed the program off to Thomas Roberts--the same person who filled in for Olbermann when he was suspended.
The full text of Schultz's apology is below.
Good evening, Americans and welcome to The Ed Show from New York tonight. Thomas Roberts will be here tonight anchoring the program, but first I want to take some time to offer an apology. On my radio show yesterday I used vile and inappropriate language when talking about talk show host Laura Ingraham. I am deeply sorry, and I apologize. It was wrong, uncalled for and I recognize the severity of what I said. I apologize to you, Laura, and ask for your forgiveness.
It doesn't matter what the circumstances were. It doesn't matter that it was on radio and I was ad-libbing. None of that matters. None of that matters. What matters is what I said was terribly vile and not of the standards that I or any other person should adhere to. I want all of you to know tonight that I did call Laura Ingraham today and did not make contact with her and I will apologize to her as I did in the message that I left her today.
I also met with management here at MSNBC, and understanding the severity of the situation and what I said on the radio and how it reflected terribly on this company, I have offered to take myself off the air for an indefinite period of time with no pay. I want to apologize to Laura Ingraham. I want to apologize to my family, my wife. I have embarrassed my family. I have embarrassed this company.
And I have been in this business since 1978, and I have made a lot of mistakes. This is the lowest of low for me. I stand before you tonight in front of this camera in this studio in an environment that I absolutely love. I love working here. I love communicating with all of you on the radio and the communication that I have with you when I go out and do town hall meetings and meet the people that actually watch. I stand before you tonight to take full responsibility for what I said and how I said it, and I am deeply sorry.
My wife is a wonderful woman. We have a wonderful family. And with six kids and eight grandkids, I try to set an example. In this moment, I have failed. And I want you to know that I talked to my sons especially about character and about dignity and about the truth. And I tell you the truth tonight that I am deeply sorry and I tell them every day that they have to live up to standards if they want to be a successful human being in life. And I have let them down. I have never been in this position before to the point where it has affected so many people. And I know that I have let a lot of people down.
To the staff here at MSNBC, I apologize for embarrassing the company and the only way that I can really make restitution for you is to give you a guarantee, and the only way that I can prove my sincerity in all of this is if I never use those words again. Tonight, you have my word that I won't. Laura Ingraham, I am sorry. Very sorry. I'll be back with you in the coming days.