WASHINGTON — Octavia Nasr, senior editor of Middle East affairs at CNN, is leaving the US television news network after sending a message on Twitter praising the late Shiite cleric Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.
Nasr, who joined CNN in 1990, said in a "tweet" over the weekend that she was "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah... One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot."
She followed that up with a blog post on CNN.com expressing "deep regret" for her "tweet" about the man considered the spiritual guide of Hezbollah and who figured on a US "terrorist" list.
"It was an error of judgment for me to write such a simplistic comment and I'm sorry because it conveyed that I supported Fadlallah's life's work," Nasr wrote. "That's not the case at all."
She said she was referring to Fadlallah's "contrarian and pioneering stand among Shiite clerics on woman's rights."
"This does not mean I respected him for what else he did or said," she said. "Far from it."
Parisa Khosravi, senior vice president for CNN International Newsgathering, said in an internal memo forwarded to AFP that she had spoken with Nasr and "we have decided that she will be leaving the company.
"As you know, her tweet over the weekend created a wide reaction. As she has stated in her blog on CNN.com, she fully accepts that she should not have made such a simplistic comment without any context whatsoever," Khosravi said.
"However, at this point, we believe that her credibility in her position as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward," Khosravi said. "We thank Octavia for all of her hard work and we certainly wish her all the best."
Nasr has covered virtually every major Middle Eastern story for CNN during the past 20 years and anchored CNN World Report and CNN International's World News from 1993 to 2003.
Before joining CNN, she worked for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.
Nasr's departure from CNN comes exactly a month after veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas retired after coming under fire for controversial remarks about Israel.
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