August 10, 2017 at 05:43 PM EDT

CNN has fired commentator Jeffrey Lord following his reference to a Nazi salute during a Twitter argument with the president of progressive media watchdog Media Matters.

On Wednesday, Lord had posted an article speaking out against Media Matters, accusing the site of spreading “fascist propaganda.” He followed up on Thursday with a new story that included the Twitter response of Media Matters president Angelo Carusone — with his name misspelled in the headline. Carusone tweeted at Lord, writing, “Your headline has a mistake in it. Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don’t take yourself seriously.” Lord replied, “Sieg Heil!”

Hours after Lord’s tweet, which is still on his feed (shown above), the conservative commentator was fired by CNN. “Nazi salutes are indefensible,” the network said in a statement to EW. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”

Lord, who spoke to EW shortly before he was fired, said the tweet was “a direct reference to the article that was written and published in The American Spectator the day before, which I know for a fact Angelo Carusone read. So he knew exactly to what I was referring to.”

Lord had used the phrase “Sieg Heil” in the article, which accused Media Matters of fascism and “re-writing the First Amendment.”

“If they don’t like you, if you’re a conservative, they will come for you,” he told EW. “This is straight-up fascism, controlling the media to their likes. And unless we speak up and mock them and take them on directly, which I have always tried to and intend to keep doing, then, they’re going to be able to get away with it.”


Carusone also spoke to EW before Lord’s firing and expressed his “confusion” over being called a Nazi. “It doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “[Lord] never explicitly said it was a joke, but he sort of indicated that he was kind of joking. But there isn’t a joke there. It’s actually not a joke. There is no humor in it.”

Carusone continued, “He actually is making the argument that what we are doing is akin to what the Nazis and fascists did. If you’re going to call what I’m doing the same as the Nazis, what he really needs to do is to take a break and go to the Holocaust Museum and really just educate himself on what that period was like. I’m not saying that to be cute, I mean it. Because what that does is change history in a really unpleasant way.”

Carusone called on CNN to hold Lord accountable in a statement posted on Twitter. “Maybe now it’s time for CNN’s viewers and employees to encourage CNN to start applying the same standards they have for all their employees to Jeffrey Lord,” Carusone wrote. “Why should he get a free pass?”

But Lord appeared to take his firing in stride; shortly after CNN’s announcement, he tweeted, “LOL!”

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