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CNN cancels Reza Aslan's show "Believer" after profane anti-Trump tweets

Posted June 9

CNN has parted ways with Reza Aslan, the host of a documentary series on the network, whose profane anti-Trump tweets were widely criticized earlier this week.

The network said Friday that it has "decided to not move forward with production" on Aslan's "Believer" series.

Season one of "Believer" premiered in March. Season two was announced at an event for advertisers in mid-May. Aslan's production company had already started working on the new episodes.

But the network decided to break off the production relationship after Aslan called President Trump a piece of excrement, using an expletive, last Saturday.

CNN's decision came about a week after it split with Kathy Griffin, the comedian who has co-hosted the network's New Year's Eve show for the past decade. Griffin was shown in photos holding up a bloodied head depicting the president. First she defended it as artistic, then she issued an apology. CNN fired her the next day.

Aslan has been a virulent critic of Trump for some time, but this particular tweet crossed a line in the minds of some media critics. Prominent conservatives weighed in and said they wanted Aslan to be fired.

Aslan posted the tweet in reaction to Trump's promotion of a "travel ban" in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack in London.

"I lost my cool and responded to him in a derogatory fashion. That's not like me," Aslan said in a statement the next day. "I should have used better language to express my shock and frustration at the president's lack of decorum and sympathy for the victims of London. I apologize for my choice of words."

CNN responded in a statement: "We are pleased that he has apologized for his tweets. That kind of discourse is never appropriate."

The network's statement also pointed out that Aslan is not a CNN employee. Unwinding the contractual relationship with Aslan's production company apparently took several days.

CNN's Friday statement about the cancellation of "Believer" said, "We wish Reza and his production team all the best."

Aslan said he would issue a statement later in the day.

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