CNN Correspondent Octavia Nasr Responds To Twitter Controversy

By Alex Weprin 

CNN’s Middle East affairs correspondent Octavia Nasr got in hot water yesterday after she tweeted the following: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot..”

The tweet, praising a leader of an organization best known in the U.S. for supporting terrorism, drew criticism from many news outlets, as well as the Simon Weisenthal Center, a human rights organization that operates the “Museum of Tolerance” in Los Angeles, CA.

Now Nasr has weighed in on the matter. In a blog post on she expands on her tweet:

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. That’s not the case at all.

Here’s what I should have conveyed more fully:

I used the words “respect” and “sad” because to me as a Middle Eastern woman, Fadlallah took a contrarian and pioneering stand among Shia clerics on woman’s rights. He called for the abolition of the tribal system of “honor killing.” He called the practice primitive and non-productive. He warned Muslim men that abuse of women was against Islam.

CNN released a statement pointing readers to Nasr’s blog post, and reiterating that it was an “error in judgment” on her part. Still, the network added that “This is a serious matter and will be dealt with accordingly.”

Update: A CNN spokesperson says that Nasr will be leaving the network. Steve Krakauer at Mediaite has the internal memo.