Radio host 'thrilled' after ban for Nazi insult to Assange's mum

A Melbourne radio host who was suspended from the airwaves after taunting Julian Assange's mother with a Nazi victory salute says he is "thrilled" at the publicity.

John-Michael Howson caused outrage among listeners on Sunday when he attacked Christine Assange for cancelling a planned phone interview.

"I won't be doing an interview with you because you're acting like a pig," the mother of the WikiLeaks website founder said.

Howson responded by screaming on air, "Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!" as Ms Assange hung up.

He later said he was pointing out the "Nazi mentality" of those who tried to censor him.

On Monday the co-host of 3AW's Sunday morning program offered an "unreserved apology" in a pre-recorded statement.

Today, however, Howson was thanking his critics for the exposure.

"In fact, thanks for the publicity," he told Sydney radio station 2SM.

"I'm actually on the front page of the Melbourne (Herald) Sun today. I'm thrilled! I'm thrilled, I couldn't be happier! ... I mean god knows, I'm in the retirement stage now and all of a sudden I'm a cause celebre."

Commenting on his enforced sabbatical, Mr Howson said he could "roll with the punches", but he was upset that some listeners might assume he identified with Nazism.

"Somebody said that saying 'Sieg Heil' meant I was anti-semitic," he said.

"I have a Jewish great-grandmother, I have a mezuzah hanging on the wall at my front door, I have a yarmulke in the wardrobe ... and if you go into my pantry you will see matzo."

- AAP

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