MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry has apologized to Mitt Romney for the tasteless jokes she made on-air about their adopted African-American grandchild, Kieran. The panel mocked a photo of the entire Romney family and the supposed lack of diversity, prompting outrage on social media. After 24 hours, Harris-Perry took to Twitter to apologize to the Romneys.
“I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification. I apologize to the Romney family,” she tweeted. “I work by guiding principle that those who offend do not have the right to tell those who are hurting that they r wrong … as black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity with Romney family & never meant to suggest otherwise. I apologize to all families built on loving transracial adoptions who feel I degraded their lives or choices.”
The other guests on the panel who also mocked the Romney photo last Sunday also offered up apologies, although they seemed somewhat less sincere. Harris-Perry also apologized to the Romney family on her website. “The intent of featuring the photo was to celebrate it— I often speak to the issue of the increasingly diverse American family,” she wrote in a statement. “Whatever the intent, the segment proceeded in an unexpected way that was offensive. Without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family and to all families built on loving transracial adoptions.”
In the segment, Harris-Perry showed the photo and asked the panel to give their thoughts. “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” said actress Pia Glenn. Perry joked that she was looking forward to the 2040 wedding between Kieran and North West (the baby daughter of Kim Kardashian and North West), while comedian Dean Obeidellah said the photo summed up the diversity of the Republican party. “I think this picture is great,” he said. “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party and the RNC, where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.”
After the anchor, CNN anchor Don Lemon referred to MSNBC as “smug” and unwilling to have genuine diversity in their opinions.