Juan Williams fikk sparken fra den offentlig finansierte National Public Radio fordi han i et intervju sa at synet av muslimer om bord i fly gjorde ham nervøs. Fox News har tatt imot Williams med åpne armer.
Williams was fired as a news analyst for the public radio network after saying on Fox News that he gets nervous when he sees passengers in Muslim clothing on a plane. The incident sparked a national controversy over free speech and political correctness.
Ex-NPR analyst Juan Williams said Sunday that his firing over a comment about Muslims amounts to «censorship,» adding that it was «despicable» for an NPR executive to later suggest he was «unstable.»
Williams, who has since joined Fox News as a full-time contributor, said on «Fox News Sunday» that the debate over his treatment by NPR marks an «important moment» in American public life.
«Americans feel, you know, that there’s nothing wrong in telling someone how you feel. And then to be punished for that is unfair and it amounts to censorship,» Williams said. «It’s important that people be able to talk to each other across political lines.»
Williams said NPR did not like the fact that he frequently appeared on Fox News and used the Muslim remark as a «pretext to get rid of me.» But he said he was also troubled by the network’s handling of the affair after he was fired.
He was referring to a comment from NPR CEO Vivian Schiller, who said Thursday that Williams’ beliefs should stay between him and «his psychiatrist or his publicist.» She later apologized for the remark.
Williams said his critics were engaged in «character assassination,» but expressed thanks to those on both sides of the aisle who have defended him. Williams has already explained that, in the Fox News interview that touched off the controversy, he was trying to make the point that personal fears should not lead to a violation of anyone’s constitutional rights.
«I didn’t advocate discriminating against Muslims,» Williams said Sunday.