Talk Radio Network host Michael Savage has been dropped from a Mississippi radio network after making defamatory comments about autistic children on his show last week. The Savage Nation host, who has repeatedly bashed the gay community on air, called autistic children ‘brats’ and said autism is nothing more than a ‘fraud’. Savage has also lost at least one major advertiser over the inflammatory remarks.
A network of seven stations in Mississippi has announced they will no longer carry the Savage Nation radio program following derogatory remarks made by host Michael Savage about autistic children.
Steve Davenport, head of the Super Talk network in Mississippi, called Savage’s comments “beyond inexcusable.”
“Effective immediately, Michael Savage and his Savage Nation Radio Show have been cancelled on all Super Talk Mississippi stations,” Davenport said, according to the New York Daily News.
In an episode of the nationally-syndicated talk radio show last week, Savage called autism a “fraud” and a “racket” and used a variety of slurs to describe autistic children.
“I’ll tell you what autism is,” Savage said during the program. “In 99% percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is.”
Savage continued by saying autistic children “don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’”
In addition to being dropped by the Mississippi radio network, Savage also lost a major advertiser for his program over the remarks. The AFLAC insurance company announced they would be pulling all advertisements sponsoring Savage’s show.
“AFLAC has a strong commitment to helping children through the AFLAC Cancer Center and AFLAC foundation,” the statement read. “We understand that radio hosts pick on any number of targets however we found his recent comments about autistic children to be both inappropriate and insensitive.”
In response to the controversy stirred up by his comments, Savage posted a statement on his web site defending his words. “My comments about autism were meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community’s attempt to label too many children or adults as ‘autistic,’” Savage said.
J. Jioni Palmer, a spokesperson for MediaMatters.org, said Savage's statement offers no excuse for his behavior on air. "Michael Savage is desperately trying to dig himself out of a hole by qualifying his original comments," Palmer said. "The reality is he didn't use any qualifiers when taking his mean-spirited swipe at children with autism and their families."
John Gilmore, executive director of Autism United said Savage’s comments were “reprehensible,” according to the Boston Herald. “We are asking him to be fired and we want to make advertisers aware of what he is broadcasting.” Autism United, along with several other major autism organizations, are asking for Savage to be boycotted and fired over his remarks.
Savage has found himself the subject of enormous backlash in the past for derogatory comments made against various minority groups, especially the LGBT community. Four months after a televised version of Savage’s show was picked up by MSNBC in 2003, Savage was pulled off the network after telling a caller he was a “sodomite” and saying he “should only get AIDS and die, you pig.”
The popular right-wing radio host has also repeatedly compared homosexuality with pedophilia and famously told his listeners: “When you hear ‘human rights,’ think gays. When you hear ‘human rights,’ think only one thing, someone who wants to rape your son.”
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