ST. PETERSBURG – For the first time in nearly five years, controversial Christian televangelist Bill Keller is going off the air.
Keller – known for his vitriolic criticism of religious, political and pop culture figures – said Thursday his program was yanked in response to pressure from local Muslims.
Earlier this month, officials from the Council on American Islamic Relations wrote to executives at CBS asking them to investigate Live Prayer with Bill Keller, an hourlong nightly program.
In a May 2 broadcast, the televangelist said Islam was a “1,400-year-old lie from the pits of hell” and called the Prophet Mohammed a “murdering pedophile.” He also called the Koran a “book of fables and a book of lies.”
CAIR officials asked for equal air time for Florida Muslims to counter Keller’s assertions. The show, which aired nightly from 1to 2 a.m., is broadcast on WTOG-TV CH. 44, a CBS-owned station that airs the CW network locally.
“I’m saying nothing now that I haven’t been saying for five years,” said Keller, who plans to hold his last broadcast on Aug. 31. “Ultimately, it was pressure by CAIR that intimidated these people into taking me off the air. It was not mutually agreeable. They told me they were taking me off the air, period.”