05/12/2013 06:08 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Martin Bashir Resigns After He Suggests Someone Should Defecate In Sarah Palin's Mouth

Martin Bashir has resigned from his role at US network MSNBC, following comments he made about Sarah Palin, which suggested someone should defecate in her mouth.

The interviewer famous for his head-to-heads with Michael Jackson and Princess Diana took exception to former vice-presidential candidate Palin's comparison of the national debt to slavery, calling her a "world class idiot" and telling the story of a plantation owner who made slaves defecate in each others mouths as punishment.

He then suggested the former Governor of Alaska have a similar punishment meted out to her.

“When Mrs Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate,” he said.

In an email posted on Mediaite, Bashir wrote: "After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation.

"It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.

"I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences.

"I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast."

In a statement, MSNBC president Phil Griffin paid tribute to Bashir: "Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague – we wish him only the best.”

Bashir had been a host on the network since 2011.