After breaking up with one of its commentators over an old tweet dripping with cynicism – but also a rape gag – MSNBC has had a change of heart and announced Thursday it has welcomed Sam Seder back with open arms.
Days earlier, MSNBC informed political satirist/Majority Report podcaster Seder their relationship was over; this after alt-right Pizzagate promoter Mike Cernovich launched a campaign against Seder over a 2009 tweet in which he mocked those in the film industry suggesting Polanski be allowed to return to the U.S. on the basis of his artistic talent, Polanski fled the country in 1978 after being charged with drugging and raping a 13 year old.
“Don’t care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/a great sense of mise en scene,” Seder snarked in his since deleted tweet.
When Cernovich’s followers trolled Seder over the old tweet, MSNBC scubbed its relationship with its commentator; an insider explained to WaPo “It gives us pause when we see alt right figures whipping up attention about our action but the reality is Seder made a rape joke.”
Seder did not go quietly, predicting MSNBC was “going to be the story” for having succumbed to one of Cernovich’s campaigns.
Thursday morning, MSNBC chief Phil Griffin changed course:
“Sometimes you just get one wrong, and that’s what happened here,” Griffin said.
“We made our initial decision for the right reasons — because we don’t consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about. But we’ve heard the feedback, and we understand the point Sam was trying to make in that tweet was actually in line with our values, even though the language was not. Sam will be welcome on our air going forward.”
Said Seder, “I appreciate MSNBC’s thoughtful reconsideration and willingness to understand the cynical motives of those who intentionally misrepresented my tweet for their own toxic, political purposes. We are experiencing an important and long overdue moment of empowerment for the victims of sexual assault and of reckoning for their perpetrators. I’m proud that MSNBC and its staff have set a clear example of the need to get it right.”