Yahoo! fired its Washington bureau chief Wednesday after he was caught on a live mic at the Republican convention joking that Republicans were, “happy to have a party with black people drowning.”
David Chalian, the now former head of Yahoo News’ DC bureau, was referring to the fact that the GOP was holding its convention while Hurricane Isaac headed for New Orleans, the same place Hurricane Katrina ravaged seven years ago with much of the damage disproportionately affecting poor minorities. Yahoo is covering the convention in a partnership with ABC News, and Chalian’s intended aside was accidentally picked up by a mic on the network’s coverage.
After identifying Chalian—it was not immediately clear who had made the remark since it was not caught on camera, only on the microphone—Yahoo quickly fired him and released a statement condemning his failed joke.
“David Chalian’s statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!. He has been terminated effective immediately. We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologize to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended,” the statement read.
Chalian’s incident was not the only race-related story that overshadowed other aspects of Tuesday night’s convention proceedings. Also that night, two convention attendees were tossed from the Tampa Bay Times Forum for allegedly chucking nuts at a black CNN camerawoman and telling her, “This is how we feed the animals.”
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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