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Over the last few days, MSNBC has faced widespread criticism for a recent decision to end the network’s relationship with contributor Sam Seder over a raunchy tweet of his from 2009. Now, the network is reversing course, and president Phil Griffin said Seder is welcome again on MSNBC.
Seder’s original tweet (viewable here) was meant as a satirical critique of Roman Polanski’s defenders, back when his 1977 sexual misconduct case was again in the news, but was presented by conservative activist Mike Cernovich as somehow endorsing or condoning rape.
“Sometimes you just get one wrong — and that’s what happened here,” Griffin said in a new statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter. “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.” (The Intercept first reported the reversal.)
While he’s “welcome” back on MSNBC, the network has not yet said explicitly whether it will renew his contributor contract, which is set to expire in February. THR has put that question to the network. Previously, the network said it would let his contract run out. That no longer seems to be the case.
In a statement also provided by the network, Seder seemed pleased by the about-face.
“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. “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.”
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