MSNBC Reverses Decision to Fire Contributor Sam Seder Over Polanski Tweet
MSNBC on Thursday reversed its decision to cut ties with contributor Sam Seder after alt-right personality Michael Cernovich recently dug up a 2009 tweet from Seder about rape accusations against film director Roman Polanski.
In a tweet that has since been deleted, Seder said, “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.”
After MSNBC faced backlash for its swift decision to cut ties with Seder, MSNBC president Phil Griffin reversed the decision by offering Seder his contributor role back and admitted to The Intercept that “sometimes you just get one wrong.”
“We made our initial decision for the right reasons — because we don’t consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about,” Griffin said. “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.”
Seder thanked MSNBC in a statement for reconsidering its initial decision to cut ties and for understanding Cernovich’s “cynical motives” for misrepresenting the tweet.
“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,” Seder said in a statement. “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.”
Seder told the Washington Post earlier in the week that he reached out to Errol Cockfield, senior vice president of communications at MSNBC, after he saw his 2009 tweet resurface. He wanted to explain his old post was a satirical attempt to express his “disgust” for those who would defend Polanski’s actions.
“I wrote that tweet out of disgust with those who were excusing or were seeking to advocate forgiveness for Polanski’s actions which caused him to flee the U.S.,” Seder said. “I was appalled that anyone would diminish the seriousness of rape, particularly of a child by citing the perpetrator’s artistic contributions. Obviously, I would not wish any harm of my daughter or any other person.”
MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who indirectly criticized the network’s initial decision on Seder, welcomed him back to the network on Thursday.
Welcome back, @SamSeder!
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) December 7, 2017