Alec immediately went into damage control mode after the incident -- but it was pathetic -- with the actor trotting out a male hairdresser to vouch for his love of gay people. He also spoke at a conference and professed his platonic love of several fellas.
A rep for MSNBC called the firing "a mutual parting" ... adding, "We wish Alec all the best."
Oh, and if you don't get the opening line of this story -- just watch the clip from "Glengarry Glen Ross." It's actually his finest work.