MSNBC has fired the person who posted a tweet calling conservatives racist after an uproar that included a biracial social-media blitz and a Republican National Committee ban on staff appearances on the left-wing television network.
MSNBC President Phil Griffin issued a statement Thursday calling the original post “outrageous and unacceptable” and apologizing to RNC chairman Reince Priebus.
“We immediately acknowledged it was offensive and wrong, apologized and deleted it,” said Mr. Griffin. “We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet. I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended. At MSNBC, we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues, and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change.”
Sparking the outcry was a post from MSNBC’s Twitter account late Wednesday that said: “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family.”
The tweet referred to a television ad for the Super Bowl showing a little girl named Gracie from a biracial family whose father uses Cheerios to tell her she’ll soon have a younger sibling.
The network deleted the tweet a few hours later with a message saying that the post was “dumb” and “offensive,” but not before conservative commentator Michelle Malkin had launched a social-media phenomenon using the hashtag #MyBiracialRightWingFamily.
“Hey @msnbc jerks: This is #MyRightwingBiracialFamily. We love #cheerios. Enough with your race card crap,” said Ms. Malkin.
She posted a photo of her two biracial children, and thousands of people responded by tweeting their own biracial family photos, along with blasts at MSNBC.
“Maybe the race-baiting idiots at @MSNBC will hate it, but everyone else will go awww at the adorable pics in #MyRightWingBiracialFamily,” said conservative commentator El Sooper!
A fed-up Mr. Priebus issued a memo Thursday calling the MSNBC post “disgusting,” banning RNC staff from network appearances and asking other Republicans to avoid the network as well.
“Until he [Griffin] takes internal corrective action and personally apologizes — not just to the RNC but to all right-of-center Americans — I’m banning all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC,” said Mr. Priebus in the memo.
The flap comes as the second episode this month in which MSNBC bigwigs ended up apologizing for hotly criticized comments on conservative families and race.
Three weeks ago, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry said she was sorry after poking fun on the air at 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is white, and his adopted infant grandson Kieran, who is black.
“Whatever the intent was, the reality is that the segment proceeded in a way that was offensive, and showing the photo in that context, that segment, was poor judgment,” said Ms. Harris-Perry in her Jan. 4 on-air apology. “So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family.”