July 9, 2019 - 17:11 AMT
Georgian TV host suspended for making vulgar anti-Putin comments

Georgia's opposition-run television channel Rustavi-2 has suspended journalist Giorgi Gabunia for two months over the presenter’s crude tirade against Russian President Vladimir Putin, RFE/RL reports.

Earlier on July 8, Rustavi-2 ceased its broadcasts for six hours after hundreds of demonstrators protested against on-air obscenities used by the program host to describe Putin.

The tirade in Russian by Gabunia, the host of a news analysis program called Postscript, has been condemned as a "provocation" by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili and Tbilisi's Mayor Kakha Kaladze as well as Russia's Foreign Ministry.

Gabunia called Putin a "stinking occupier" and a "walrus' c**t" amid a string of obscenities used to curse the Russian president, as well as Putin's mother and father -- finally vowing that he would defecate on Putin's grave.

Gabunia's rant against Putin comes at one of the most tense periods in relations between Russia and Georgia since they fought a five-day war in 2008.

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze called Gabunia's outburst "nothing but a disgusting act of provocation and an attempt to destabilize our country. Something that is totally unacceptable."

The Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, which is an independent union of journalists, described Gabunia's minute-long diatribe as "unethical behavior" by a journalist that damages public trust and respect for all journalists.

Demonstrators began gathering outside the Rustavi-2 building in Tbilisi late on July 7 after Gabunia introduced his weekly program with the vulgar rant against Putin.