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NPR chief sorry over handling of Williams’ firing

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NEW YORK — NPR’s chief executive says she’s sorry for how analyst Juan Williams’ dismissal was handled — but she’s not sorry for firing him.

Vivian Schiller sent an apology to NPR staff members Sunday night. She says Williams deserved a face-to-face meeting to hear that his contract as an analyst was being terminated over remarks he made on Fox News Channel.

Williams was fired for saying he gets nervous when he’s on a plane and sees people in clothing that identifies them as Muslim. Washington-based NPR’s management, which had long been troubled by Williams’ dual role as an analyst on Fox, said the remarks violated its standards of not giving his opinion on the air.

Schiller writes: “I stand by my decision to end NPR’s relationship with Juan, but I deeply regret the way I handled and explained it.”

After the firing, Schiller said publicly that whatever feelings Williams had about Muslims should be between him and “his psychiatrist or his publicist — take your pick.” Schiller later apologized for that remark.

Williams said Monday that he had not received any apology from NPR or had any contact with it since the dismissal.

“Obviously, I feel that I should have had the opportunity to supply NPR with the entirety of the context of the statement to make sure they understood and I am hurt by the suggestion that I need a psychiatrist and am a bigot,” Williams said.

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