An outspoken US TV talk show host has been fired after telling a caller he should "get Aids and die".
Savage has blamed the incident on a crank caller
Michael Savage was sacked by cable news channel MSNBC for anti-gay comments after he referred to the unidentified caller as a "sodomite".
MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines
said: "His comments were extremely inappropriate and the decision was an easy one."
On his website, Savage apologised for his remarks and blamed the incident on a crank caller from a rival talk show.
You should only get Aids and die, you pig
Savage had been under fire from gay rights groups since February when he was hired to host a TV version of his popular radio show.
He was taking viewers' phone calls about airline horror stories when a male caller began talking about
smoking in the bathroom.
"Half an hour into the flight, I need to suggest that Don and Mike take your..." the caller said, before he was cut off and his words became unintelligible.
It was not meant to reflect my views of the terrible tragedy and suffering associated with Aids
Savage's website statement
"So you're one of those sodomists. Are you a sodomite?" Savage asked.
The caller replied: "Yes, I am."
"Oh, you're one of the sodomites," Savage said. "You should only get Aids and die, you pig."
The brash, conservative Savage is founder of the Paul Revere Society, which advocates closing borders and deporting illegal immigrants.
Cathy Renna, spokeswoman for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said Savage had no place on a reputable news network.
In a message on his website, Savage blamed a "crank caller" from a rival talk show who had been making vicious personal attacks against him
"I signalled and thought that this crank caller was cut from the air," he wrote.
"His insults continued in my ear piece and I reacted to him personally as an individual who was attacking me to defend myself."
Apologising to the gay community, he added: "It was not meant to reflect my views of the terrible tragedy and suffering associated with Aids."