Over the weekend, fired CNN host Reza Aslan made quite the allegation: CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker made the decision to cancel his show, Believer, in the summer of 2017, in order to appease President Donald Trump.
Aslan had tweeted that Trump was a “piece of shit.” Then, he apologized, under pressure from CNN execs.
“[Jeff] Zucker informed the production company that he was pulling the plug on the show. The response from the production company was, ‘Wait a minute, what? We thought this was over. He apologized. You accepted the apology. This was four days ago,'” Aslan explained to The Daily Beast. According to him, he indicated Zucker said, “I have no choice in the matter.”
He continued, “I had enough friends there who were able to tell me: ‘Look, it’s a matter of access. It’s an access issue.’ The idea was that Trump wouldn’t come on CNN anymore as a result of this. And also, this was at the height of the AT&T merger where Trump was illegally—and publicly—saying that he wasn’t going to allow this merger to happen unless CNN fire Jeff Zucker, because they have this fake “conflict” between them.”
“Why do you say all is forgiven and then four days later cancel the show? It came as a surprise both to us, and to people at the network. Even the higher-ups at CNN were surprised by this move.”
He finished to The Daily Beast: “We tried to call [Zucker] and get some clarity, and that’s when I was sat down and told that the following came directly from Jeff Zucker. What he basically said was, ‘Keep your boy in line, stay quiet, don’t do any interviews—this is obviously going to be a big story—don’t comment about this, and in exchange, when this brouhaha dies down, you will get the show, the masters, and the format’ — because CNN technically owned not only Believer but the format, by which I mean they owned Reza Aslan goes around the world exploring religions, or my entire livelihood. So I couldn’t go around doing that for anyone else. I was told I could have all of it back if I just stayed quiet. So I had been purposely muzzled—fooled—into keeping my mouth shut.” Follow @CommentaryCNN