Earlier this week, an utterly disingenuous campaign to get MSNBC contributor Sam Seder fired over a 2009 joke tweet about Roman Polanski/rape apologists proved successful. Inspired by Mike Cernovich, who’s headed up such deliberately misleading (and harmful) efforts as “PizzaGate” and “date rape is not a thing,” a bunch of “alt-right” trolls harangued the network to drop Seder for a now-deleted tweet that read “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.”
Naturally, the “alt-right” didn’t care about the context, which was a gross mass effort from Hollywood filmmakers to demand Polanski’s release after he was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 on rape charges from 1977. Seder was criticizing the apologists, but because humor is best left to those who talk about “[choking] bitches out,” these enraged trigger warnings urged MSNBC to cut ties with the Majority Report host while Cernovich denied having complained about Seder in earnest.
MSNBC was already blowing with the wind, though, and fired Seder. But now there are reports that the network has changed its mind yet again—according to The Intercept, Seder has been offered his contributor job again, which he plans to accept. MSNBC president Phil Griffin gave the following statement:
Sometimes you just get one wrong, and that’s what happened here. 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.
And here’s Seder’s gracious response:
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.
Prominent MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who voiced his support of Seder after the network’s decision, has already weighed in on the reversal.