Sanchez Fired After Calling Jon Stewart a Bigot

VIDEO: CNN Anchor Rick Sanchez fired
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CNN news anchor Rick Sanchez has been fired by the network after he called Jon Stewart a bigot and questioned whether Jewish people should be considered a minority.

Sanchez, the host of CNN's "Rick's List," made the comments Thursday on the radio show "Stand Up! With Pete Dominick" in reaction to a recent jab that Stewart made at him on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

When Sanchez reported that he'd received a tweet from House Republican leader John Boehner, Stewart called it a case of "send a twit a tweet."

"He's upset that someone of my ilk is almost at his level," Sanchez said of Stewart in an interview with Dominick, adding that he feels that Stewart is bigoted toward "everybody else that's not like him."

Sanchez, who was born in Cuba, went on to say that Stewart "can't relate to what I grew up with," and said how, as he was growing up, his family was poor and his father was the victim of prejudice.

Dominick, who is also a CNN contributor and was once the warm-up comic for "The Daily Show," pointed out that Stewart, who is Jewish, comes from a minority group. Sanchez dismissed the notion.

"I'm telling you that everyone 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," Sanchez said.

"I can't see someone not getting a job these days because they're Jewish," he added.

Dominick pressed Sanchez during the heated interview, and eventually Sanchez backed down on his use of the word bigot.

"OK. I'll take bigot back ... (Stewart is) prejudicial," Sanchez said. Stewart is "not just a comedian," he said. "He can make and break careers."

The details of the interview were posted on the news and opinion website Mediaite on Friday and quickly became a hot topic.

CNN issued the following statement late Friday: "Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company. We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well."

Sanchez had been with the network since 2004.

Sanchez did not return e-mails or calls made by The Associated Press, although it was unclear whether his CNN-issued phone is still active.

Stewart had no comment, according to a Comedy Central spokesman.

Sanchez has been a frequent target of Stewart's, who has mocked him for such things as his mispronunciation of the word "annals" in a piece on Vice President Joe Biden and his questioning of a reporter stationed in a California gay bar who was unable to find a person who doesn't support gay marriage.

During the interview with Dominick, Sanchez said that a CNN executive had compared him to Hispanic reporter John Quinones of ABC's "Primetime: What Would You Do."

"In his mind, I can't be an anchor," Sanchez told Dominick. "An anchor is what you give to high-profile white guys.

"Deep down, when they look at a guy like me they see a guy automatically who belongs in the second tier and not the top tier," Sanchez said.

He said he feels that racism exists "not just [from] the right," but also from "elite, Northeast establishment liberals," and that he is condescended to because of his Latino heritage.

Sanchez has worked at MSNBC and CNBC throughout his career. He spent a large part of his career as a reporter and anchor in Miami.

CNN has not announced a replacement for Sanchez and said that for the foreseeable future it will broadcast "CNN Newsroom" in the 3-5 p.m. time slot held by "Rick's List."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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