MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski said Mark Halperin, the former MSNBC personality who was fired after allegations of sexual harassment, was “more than willing to meet with his accusers and apologize,” but the accusers didn’t want to meet him or talk to him. A video clip and transcript of her comments is posted on Media Matters.
Brzezinski went on, “There are some — there are some hypocrisies here. When things happen and men actually want to validate that truth, that’s important that we actually allow that, if we want to grow as a society and learn from each other. If we just want to strike people down for political motivation or for anger, we’re not going to get anywhere. And I know I said something incredibly — what’s the word — explosive.”
Halperin was fired by MSNBC and NBC News in late October after he was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment.
Those comments, made during a Dec. 23 Morning Joe program, upset some, including accuser Emily Miller. Miller told CNN it was “disgusting and unethical of Mika to use the power of her show to shame me, a sexual assault victim, into meeting with the man who did that to me.”
Ten of Halperin’s accusers, including Miller, sent a statement slamming Brzezinski’s comments, the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi reported on Twitter. In the statement from the ten, they called for Brzezinski to have “higher standards of editorial judgment, compassion and human decency.” Further, noting Brzezinski and her cohost Joe Scarborough’s friendship with Halperin, they indicated her comments were part of a “one-sided rehabilitation of Mr. Halperin’s reputation or career.”
After the criticism, Brzezinski apologized. MSNBC sent iMediaEthics a copy of her statement, which reads:
“We have been trying our best on Morning Joe to have an honest conversation about sexual harassment and sexual assault. The issue has hit close to home given that Mark Halperin was on our show. I have spent a lot of time talking to some of his accusers and to Mark himself. Often I bring up the issue on our show because I think it would be less than genuine to talk about the growing number of cases without recognizing that a former member of our team acted very badly.
“In our discussion about sexual harassment this morning, I said some things that hurt people. In the case of Mark, my goal today was to start a conversation about hearing from the men whenever we can, but I realize that it is not my place. It isn’t my call to make, and for that I am truly sorry. As a victim of sexual assault, I understand that each individual’s case is different. This is up to the victims, some of whom I’ve been in contact with. My hope is for all of us to come together to support the brave women who speak out and help make workplaces safer as we continue this difficult conversation in the months and years ahead.”
— Paul Farhi (@farhip) December 22, 2017