Yahoo has fired its Washington bureau chief after he was caught on a live webcast saying Mitt Romney was ‘happy to have a party with black people drowning.’

David Chalian’s controversial remarks about the Republican presidential candidate and his wife, Ann, were heard during an ABC News/Yahoo News webcast of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

The comments were flagged up by conservative news watchdog NewsBusters this morning.

‘They’re not concerned at all,’ Chalian said on the broadcast, clearly unaware that the quip was being recorded and going out live.

‘They’re happy to have a party with black people drowning.’

Referring to Hurricane Isaac, which is battering towns in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, Chalian is heard making the anti-Romney joke to a colleague identified as ‘John.’

In a statement issued after lunch, Yahoo! News confirmed the reporter had been let go.

The company added that it had apologised to camp Romney for the ‘inappropriate’ remarks.

‘David Chalian’s statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!,’ a spokesman said. ‘He has been terminated effective immediately.

‘We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologize to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended.’

The Republican National Convention was delayed a day as a result of Hurricane Isaac.

NewsBusters, which tasks itself with ‘exposing and combating liberal media bias,’ was quick to point out that President Barack Obama did not cancel any of his scheduled campaign-fundraising parties on Monday night.

In a statement this afternoon, Chalian apologised for his ‘inappropriate and thoughtless joke.’

‘I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke. I was commenting on the challenge of staging a convention during a hurricane and about campaign optics. I have apologized to the Romney campaign, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Gov. and Mrs. Romney.’

The reporter also said he regrets causing any distraction from the ‘exceptional coverage’ of the Republican convention by Yahoo News and ABC News.

Chalian’s gaff wasn’t the first time race has been brought into the spotlight during the GOP convention.

Yesterday afternoon a man was ejected from the event after throwing peanuts at a black camerawoman and shouting ‘this is how we feed animals.’

Republicans fear the alleged racist incident, which took place at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, will further dent the party’s support among African Americans ahead of the presidential election.

At least one poll has shown Romney has less than one per cent support among black voters.

The peanut onslaught — reported to have been on a CNN camerawoman — led to a furious response on Twitter.


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