Democratic lawmakers are putting MSNBC on full blast over its decision to cancel far-left host Mehdi Hasan’s weekend program, questioning the timing of the move as Hasan has been vocal about his views of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
MSNBC revealed Thursday that Hasan will lose his Sunday show, as well as his program on the Peacock streaming service, but will stay at the network as an on-camera analyst and fill-in host. The move was announced as part of a broader overhaul of MSNBC's weekend programming.
"Squad" member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., heralded Hasan as "one of the most brilliant and most prominent Muslim journalists in the U.S." but expressed her concerns about his demotion.
"It is deeply troubling that MSNBC is canceling his show amid a rampant rise of anti-Muslim bigotry and suppression of Muslim voices. Anyone who cares about free expression should be concerned," Omar posted on social media.
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., went even further, calling on MSNBC to provide a public explanation behind its programming decision.
"It is bad optics for MSNBC to cancel @mehdirhasan's show right at a time when he is vocal for human rights in Gaza with the war ongoing," Khanna wrote. "As a strong supporter of free speech, MSNBC owes the public an explanation for this decision. Why would they choose to do this now?"
Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who launched a primary bid against President Biden, also praised Hasan as being an "important voice during his tenure at @MSNBC" despite him still remaining with the network.
"America is best served by platforming more perspectives, diversity of opinion, and provacative debate - not less," Phillips added.
MSNBC did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.
Known as one of the more pugnacious figures in cable news, Hasan joined MSNBC in 2020 after stints at Al Jazeera and the liberal site The Intercept.
Hasan's cancelation comes on the heels of inflammatory remarks he made in 2009, long before becoming an MSNBC personality, circulating online last weekend when they were unearthed by New York Post reporter Jon Levine, although it wasn't immediately clear the two are related.
He compared non-Muslims to "animals" and linked homosexuals to "pedophiles" and "sexual deviants." In 2019, Hasan apologized for those comments, calling them "dumb offensive ranty stuff" and admitted that he said "extreme-sounding things" as a young man.
When Levine resurfaced the comments, he added that it's "hard to imagine MSNBC allowing someone on television who said similar things about a different religion."
MSNBC declined comment when specifically asked if the resurfaced comments contributed to the decision to cancel Hasan's programs.
Hasan has been one of the strongest critics of Israel in the legacy media during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, and he is known for his strident social media commentary and clashes with conservatives and other political foes.
Fox News' Brian Flood and David Rutz contributed to this report.