- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2017

MSNBC is reversing its decision to fire contributor Sam Seder over a 2009 rape joke about film director Roman Polanski.

It was reported three days ago that the network chose not to renew Mr. Seder’s contract and banned him from future appearances over a now-deleted tweet that pro-President Trump activist and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich resurfaced on Twitter last month.

“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,” Mr. Seder wrote at the time.

During his podcast, “The Majority Report with Sam Seder,” last week, Mr. Sederattacked the “Nazi alt-right” for taking his tweet out of context. He said it was written as satire to show how angry he was that people in Hollywood appeared to excuse Mr. Polanski’s alleged sexual assault of underage girls due to his accomplishments in the film industry.

He said “alt-right” trolls like Mr. Cernovich were only targeting him now because of his criticism of Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is also facing allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls.

Mr. Seder said Thursday that he welcomed MSNBC’s decision to keep him as a contributor.

“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 in a statement to The Intercept. “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.”

MSNBC president Phil Griffin admitted that the network acted hastily in firing Mr. Seder.

“Sometimes you just get one wrong,” he said in a statement Thursday to The Intercept, “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.”

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