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Michael Savage, radio talk-show host and best-selling author, is apologizing for comments that got him fired from his weekend MSNBC television show.

Savage, author of the New York Times best-seller “The Savage Nation”, referred to an unidentified caller to his cable show as a “sodomite” and said he should “get AIDS and die.”

But Savage says there’s more to the story than that – and he wants people to understand the circumstances behind the controversy.

“What happened on the air is much different than what is being reported,” he said in a statement released yesterday. “It was in the middle of an airline horror story segment. … Out of nowhere, a crank caller from a competitive talk show went from describing his airline horror story to making vicious personal attacks against me. I signaled and thought that this crank caller was cut from the air. His insults continued in my ear piece and I reacted to him personally as an individual who was attacking me to defend myself.”

Savage says he thought his comments were made off the air.

“In no way did my comments reflect my views of disease and suffering in any way,” he continued. “I have spent my entire life in the field of alternative medicine trying to heal the world and bring comfort to the sick. If my comments brought pain to anyone, I certainly did not intend for this to happen and apologize for any such reaction.”

MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said: “His comments were extremely inappropriate and the decision was an easy one.”

The incident that resulted in his firing began innocently enough. Savage was taking viewer phone calls about airline horror stories, and a male caller began talking about smoking in the bathroom.

“Half an hour into the flight, I need to suggest that Don and Mike take your …” the caller said, before he was cut off and his words became unintelligible.

“So you’re one of those sodomists. Are you a sodomite?” Savage asked.

The caller replied: “Yes, I am.”

“Oh, you’re one of the sodomites,” Savage said. “You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How’s that? Why don’t you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it.”

He asked for another phone caller who “didn’t have a nice night in the bathhouse who’s angry at me today.”

These bums “mean nothing to me,” he said.

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