OTTAWA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The host of a U.S. television network Fox News program on Monday apologized for his comments on the Canadian military which Canada's Defense Minister Peter MacKay called "disgusting" and "crass."
The comments of Greg Gutfeld, host of "Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld," a round-table chat show that airs late night on weekdays on Fox News, has evoked outrage among the Canadian public.
The controversial comments were made during an episode that aired on March 17, in which Gutfeld mocked Canada's Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie, chief of land staff, who suggested in early March that the military may need a year-long break in operations due to personnel and equipment shortages after they withdraw from Afghanistan in 2011, the Canadian Television (CTV) reported Monday.
"Once their Afghan mission winds down sometime in 2011, certain members of the Canadian military are looking to take a much-deserved break. And by certain members I mean all of them," Gutfeld said.
"Meaning, the Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white Capri pants."
Gutfeld issued an apology Monday afternoon saying "I realize that my words may have been misunderstood. It was not my intent to disrespect the brave men, women and families of the Canadian military, and for that I apologize."
But the host also seemed to defend his program, adding "Red Eyeis a satirical take on the news, in which all topics are addressed in a lighthearted, humorous and ridiculous manner," according to Canadian Television (CTV).
Earlier Monday, MacKay expressed his anger over the comments which he called "disgusting". "It's crass, it's insensitive, it's in fact disgusting ..." MacKay said during an interview with CTV.
He said the Canadian government will be demanding an apology from the panel and from Fox.
"There should be an apology -- to the families in particular, and to the Canadian Forces and to Canada generally -- given the sacrifice and the commitment that we've demonstrated in Afghanistan.
While the controversial comments were made nearly a week ago, they have only come to light in Canada in recent days, when Canadians were showing respect to four soldier recently killed in roadside bombs blasts in southern Afghanistan.
Thousands of people have vented out their anger on the websites. A person posted the clip from the show to YouTube with a comment that says, "Fox News belittles and mocks the Canadian military." It goes on to say "These are the people who keep Americans up to date and mis-informed."
Strategist of the ruling Conservative Party has called on Canadians who subscribe to Fox News to cancel those subscriptions and Canadian advertisers to cancel their business with the network.
While Canadian military has been deploying in Afghanistan since2002 and has suffered one of the heaviest fatalities there, military authorities have always complained of series shortages of military personnel and equipment.