A tweet cost Jeffrey Lord his job at CNN, but he has “zero regrets” about it.
The conservative commentator was fired by the network on Thursday after his use of the Nazi salute, “Sieg Heil!” “Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson told EW in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”
Lord wrote the phrase in a Twitter exchange with Media Matters president Angelo Carusone. He had originally used “Sieg Heil” in an article for The American Spectator, which accused the progressive media watchdog of fascism and “re-writing the First Amendment.”
“Caving to bullies, caving to people who use fascist and Nazi-style tactics to try and remove people from the air is unacceptable,” Lord told EW after his dismissal. “I mocked this guy. Mocking Nazis is okay. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. A writer has only a handful of tools in his writer’s box, and mockery is one of them. To suggest that this is anything other than that, to my way of thinking, is caving in. And I’m not going to cave.”
Lord brought up Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 political satire film The Great Dictator, which mocked Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. “He made Hitler a laughing-stock, and that’s exactly what you have to do here,” he continued, emphasizing that he wasn’t comparing himself to Chaplin. “So that’s what I was doing. I have absolutely zero regrets for mocking people who use Nazi tactics and fascists tactics to silence people in the media. None.”
Carusone, who spoke to EW before Lord’s firing, said he was confused by Lord’s tweet. “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 also posted a statement on Twitter calling on CNN to hold Lord accountable for his tweet. “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?”
Lord cited an “honest difference of opinion” with CNN, which he calls “great,” and continued to insist that he won’t back down, no matter the consequences to his career.
“If I knew what was going to occur here today, I would have done it all over again,” he declared. “Look, there is nothing personal here. This is about principle. And I just have a very big disagreement with CNN. You’ve got to stand up for the First Amendment. You must do that. I’m sorry that CNN doesn’t feel that way. But in their own fashion, they are illustrating the problem exactly.”