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AT&T had booked me for a paid speech in Orlando—and then canceled. Bill de Blasio, who apparently gets his news from TMZ, too, distanced himself from me. Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible. Later, when Martin Bashir resigned, I was disappointed. ), someone studying their paperwork, undisturbed, at the Oyster Bar, before catching the train.

As we went along, Larsen would simply stare at me after everything I’d suggest and say, “Well, let’s see what Phil says.” Larsen was sent there to babysit me. When viewers turn the channel, they want to see something. All this is based on the fact of them believing what I said on a video. You don’t know, and I don’t know, but Levin knows, and he tells the world that it’s “faggot.” I get angry, and I’ve said all sorts of things in anger, but I’d never use that word. Shia La Beouf went to a film screening recently and he wore a bag over his head and the bag says I AM NOT FAMOUS ­ANYMORE.

Phil Griffin is the head of MSNBC, and when I saw that Griffin didn’t have a single piece of paper on his desk, meeting after meeting after meeting, that should have been my first indication there was going to be a problem. Levin has so little regard for the truth, which is odd, knowing he was once a legal correspondent for the CBS affiliate in L. He’s also the one who revealed the tape that my ex-wife’s lawyers provided of me yelling at my daughter seven years ago. And there was truly a part of me that felt sorry for him, oddly enough.

I know there’s an impression that I’m someone who seeks to have violent confrontations with people. Do I regret screaming at some guy who practically clipped my kid in the head with the lens of a camera? I mean, sometimes you do a show that’s a hit show and you hate it. He took that to heart and learned all his lines in advance, even emailing me videos in which he read aloud his lines from the entire play. Or, in the case of those like George Will, a respect for their careers, whether I agreed with them or not. I like Lawrence O’Donnell, but he’s too smart to be doing that show. I think they thought, You should have just said yes, simply to play the game.

Yeah, I probably do, because it’s only caused me problems. As my agent used to say, you don’t want to be walking down an alleyway with a flashlight in your hand for ten years, doing some police procedural. To think that something as uncomplicated and innocent as that led to the MSNBC debacle is still surreal to me. Rachel Maddow is Rachel Maddow, the ultimate wonk/dweeb who got a show, polished it, made it her own. The problem with everybody on MSNBC is none of them are funny, although that doesn’t prevent them from trying to be. I said, “Not particularly.” Rob’s a famous star of films, TV. I should have simply said, “Sure, bring in Rob Lowe.” Just prior to all of this, there was Jimmy Gandolfini’s funeral. Jimmy was a “showbiz friend,” one with whom I had worked and greeted warmly whenever our paths crossed.

Phil is a veteran programmer who knows well the corridors and chambers of television programming—and couldn’t give a flying fuck about content. Knowing that none of it would have transpired if I hadn’t left the message in the first place, I think he hurt my daughter more than anyone. Follow Vulture on Twitter for more stories like these.

All he wanted to talk about was Giants tickets, Super Bowl tickets, restaurants, movies. In the recent video, you see me completely riled up and going after this guy and you hear me saying “cocksucker” and then some bisyllabic word that sounds like “faggot”—but wasn’t. glaad comes after me and Anderson Cooper comes after me and Andrew Sullivan comes after me, all maintaining that I’m a hateful homophobe. Immediately prior to this, I’d go see Phil and I’d say, “What are the ratings? But this will blow over.” I have all the emails to prove it. This article appeared in the February 24, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.

And I’m trying to understand what happened, how an altercation on the street, in which I was accused—wrongly—of using a gay slur, could have cascaded like this. And it’s caused me to step back and say, This is happening for a reason. I definitely should not have reacted the way I did in some of these situations. I know we all had to move on because it’s Tina Fey’s show and Tina had worked herself to death. When he showed up, he seemed like a lot of young actors today—scattered, as he was coming from making six movies in a row or whatever. La Beouf seems to carry with him, to put it mildly, a jailhouse mentality wherever he goes. So he began to sulk because he felt we were slowing him down. And if you don’t say your lines, I’m just going to keep saying my lines.” We all sat, frozen. And I took the stage manager, with Sullivan, to another room, and I said one of us is going to go. He had that card, that card you get when you make films that make a lot of money that gives you a certain kind of entitlement. Sullivan agreed to do something that, once he realized what it was, he had lost interest in it. I’ll forever be indebted to Ben Foster for stepping in for Shia. My “career” as a talk-show host started with a perfectly simple ambition.

I don’t have these issues with waiters, traffic cops, store clerks. When he came to rehearsal, he was told it was important to memorize his lines. I snorted a bit, and, turning to him in front of the whole cast, I asked, “If I don’t say my words fast enough, you’re going to just say your next line? “You realize the lines are written in a certain order? I said, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll go.” I said don’t fire the kid, I’ll quit. I think he was surprised that it didn’t work in the theater. In my WNYC podcast, “Here’s the Thing,” I wanted to conduct interviews based on appreciation of my guests and their work. And they looked at me like, You really don’t get it.

The conversations about the set, about the physical production of the show, cameras, lighting—it seemed like he wanted to get those over with as quickly as possible. ” If I had 15 meetings with Phil Griffin, 5 of them were after the show, with me saying, “What do you make of these ratings? It takes time.” (We beat Cooper two of three Fridays at ten.) Although he appeared to have some buyer’s remorse, he told me to hang in there. And then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, MSNBC said, “You’re fired.” Once they fired me, a former MSNBC employee I knew emailed me. I want a happy home, and for the first time in my adult life, I have one.

He said, “You watch now, Phil is going to start leaking left and right to bury you.” When I left, “Page Six” was flooded with lies about me. I did not have a happy family life a few years ago. I love my wife more than anything in the world and I love my child more than anything else in the world and I don’t want that to change in any way.

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