Earlier this week, MSNBC ended Sam Seder’s contract after a 2009 tweet he wrote about rape resurfaced. But, MSNBC has changed its mind and now is un-doing its decision.
The backstory? Seder tweeted in 2009 about Roman Polanski’s bid to re-enter the U.S., “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.”
Recently, Mike Cernovich, who CNN described as “a pro-Trump provocateur who has advanced a number of conspiracy theories online, but also gained prominence in the Trump-era for legitimate national security related scoops,” drew attention to the tweet. When Seder saw the new attention to the old tweet, he deleted it. He also told MSNBC his tweet had been an effort to show “disgust with those who were excusing or were seeking to advocate forgiveness for Polanski’s actions” because of his “artistic contributions.” Regardless, MSNBC decided to axe his contract, CNN explained.
In a statement sent to iMediaEthics by e-mail, MSNBC president Phil Griffin said, “Sometimes you just get one wrong – and that’s what happened here. 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.”
Seder said, in a statement sent to iMediaEthics by MSNBC, “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. 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.”
I was just asked if I regret my tweet from 2009. I regret laziness led me to delete it. I would never regret criticizing rape apologists.
— Sam Seder (@SamSeder) December 5, 2017
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 7, 2017