MSNBC reversed course on Thursday, and announced that it would rehire contributor Sam Seder just days after it had cut ties with him over a tweeted joke about Roman Polanski and rape from 2009.
“Sometimes you just get one wrong — and that’s what happened here,” network president Phil Griffin said in a remarkable act of contrition. “We made our initial decision for the right reasons — because we don’t consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about.”
Griffin acknowledged the criticism that the network had received for its decision to cut ties with Seder — with many citing the role that pro-Trump journalist and activist Mike Cernovich played in publicizing Seder’s now-deleted tweet — factored into the reversal.
“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,” Griffin said. “Sam will be welcome on our air going forward.”
In an additional statement, Seder said he accepted the apology.
“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,” he said. “I’m proud that MSNBC and its staff have set a clear example of the need to get it right.”
As TheWrap exclusively reported, the network originally planned to keep Seder off the air and not renew his contract in February after a 2009 rape joke about Roman Polanski.
The joke — contained in a now deleted tweet — was first brought to wide public attention by the pro-Trump journalist and activist Mike Cernovich.