When ABC News imported Martin Bashir from British TV, they knew he was prone to a certain level of tabloid shamelessness. But his speech at the Asian American Journalists Association annual banquet in Chicago on July 25 went too far. “I’m happy to be in the midst of so many Asian babes,” he said onstage, with his 20/20 colleague Juju Chang nearby. “In fact, I’m happy that the podium covers me from the waist down.” He then noted that a speech should be “like a dress on a beautiful woman—long enough to cover the important parts and short enough to keep your interest—like my colleague Juju’s.” (“See what I have to put up with?” she responded.) Some audience members booed. ABC wasn’t pleased. “This kind of remark has no place in any setting, and Martin knows that,” says a spokesperson. And Bashir is contrite. “Upon reflection, it was a tasteless remark that I now bitterly regret,” he wrote in a July 31 letter to AAJA, obtained by New York. “I … hope that the continuing work of the organization will not be harmed or undermined by my moment of stupidity.”
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