Melissa Harris-Perry broke down and tried to start crying during her latest apology to the Romney family, which she made on-air during a segment of her self-titled MSNBC show. The TV anchor has been sparking controversy in the two weeks over tasteless jokes made about Mitt Romney’s adopted black grandchild named Kieran, which many described as reverse racism.
“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,” she said. “So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family.” But while her eyes moistened during the on-air apology, Harris-Perry did not produce any actual tears.
In the controversial segment aired last month, Harris-Perry showed a photo of the Romney family which included Kieran 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, using the same tone as the Sesame Street song. Perry joked that she was looking forward to the 2040 wedding between Kieran 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.”
She later took to Twitter and apologized to the Romneys. “I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification. I apologize to the Romney family,” she wrote. “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.”
However, CNN is continuing to call for Harris-Perry to be fired. CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin teased a report on the uproar by telling viewers “Some people are demanding MSNBC fire one host after she mocked Mitt Romney’s black grandson,” and also linked her to recently fired MSNBC hosts Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir.