MSNBC Suspends Alec Baldwin's Late-Night Show

UPDATED: "I want to apologize to my loyal fans and to my colleagues," said the host in a statement posted online late Friday.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Alec Baldwin

MSNBC has suspended Alec Baldwin's new talk show for two weeks after the actor's use of gay slurs drew widespread criticism.

The announcement Friday followed the controversial actions of the 30 Rock star over the past several days. Up Late With Alec Baldwin had premiered only a month ago, on October 11.

"I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have -- and for that I am deeply sorry," Baldwin said in a statement. "Words are important. I understand that and will choose mine with great care going forward. What I said and did this week, as I was trying to protect my family, was offensive and unacceptable. Behavior like this undermines hard-fought rights that I vigorously support. I understand Up Late will be taken off the schedule for tonight and next week."

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On Thursday, TMZ published a video showing the actor hurling gay slurs at a photographer who had been in a confrontation with Baldwin. The video was widely circulated online, and the host's language drew condemnation, including from gay-rights advocacy group GLAAD. 

Baldwin has since apologized on Twitter for causing offense. 

He reiterated that in a note posted to MSNBC's site Friday: "I want to apologize to my loyal fans and to my colleagues at MSNBC -- both for my actions and for distracting from their good work. Again, please accept my apology."

After the network's suspension of the show, GLAAD vp of communications Rich Ferraro issued a statement: "Alec Baldwin still needs to take real action. MSNBC has sent a message that anti-gay slurs carry consequences, and that's an important standard to uphold at a time when LGBT people continue to face disproportionate levels of bullying and violence just because of who they are."

MSNBC said the weekly show, which airs Friday during the 10 p.m. hour, will return on Nov. 29. 

Guests on the show -- which has tackled topics ranging from classic film to public policy -- have included New York mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, actress Debra Winger, fellow host Chris Matthews and the stars of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Actress Ellen Barkin was scheduled for Friday night's episode. 

In an ad promoting the show before it premiered, MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz championed Baldwin as "a man who can restore balance to an unbalanced network, a man who will address the great issues of our time while keeping his emotions in check."