MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell apologized April 11 for his comments on Mormonism, Mediaite reported.
In his April 11 apology, O’Donnell stated that he said on his April 3 program “two sentences that I shall not repeat because they offended many but not all of the Mormons watching.”
According to Utah news station KSL, on April 3, O’Donnell said:
“Mormonism was created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it.” and
“Forty-eight wives later, Joseph Smith’s lifestyle was completely sanctified in the religion he invented to go with it, which Mitt Romney says he believes.”
Utah news organization The Deseret News called the comments “inflammatory and inaccurate” and KSL, which is a “sister station” of the Deseret News, described them as “sharp, flippant and inaccurate.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns the Deseret News and KSL, according to its website.
O’Donnell’s April 11 apology reads:
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“I am truly sorry if I said something inaccurate about Joseph Smith and I am happy to provide time on this show to a Church of Latter Day Saints spokesman to correct any inaccuracy.”
He noted that the “Mormon reaction on Twitter was overwhelmingly negative” and went on: “I am sorry that my word choice ripped some people’s attention away from my point – that we should not tolerate religious intolerance in voting.” He also commented that “I wish I could take those words back.”
See the video of O’Donnell’s apology here.
TIME magazine detailed some of Mormonism’s history and wrote that O’Donnell “was factually inaccurate” with his comments.
Further, TIME argued that O’Donnell wouldn’t make similar comments about other religions. “I am Jewish, for instance, and I have been a guest on O’Donnell’s show. O’Donnell would certainly never suggest that Abraham’s apparent willingness to murder his own son, Isaac, reflect on my own judgement and values,” TIME’s Michael Scherer wrote.
The Deseret News noted that O’Donnell has made similar comments about Mormonism previously. “In 2007, before he got his gig on MSNBC, O’Donnell didn’t bother feigning objectivity during a televised appearance on the political talk show ‘The McLaughlin Group.’ On that occasion O’Donnell described Mormonism with adjectives like demented, crazy and ridiculous; he also called Smith a ‘lying, fraudulent criminal,'” according to the Deseret News.
The Huffington Post wrote in 2007 about those comments here.