Joy Reid scandal: MSNBC accused of hypocrisy as evidence of lying about anti-gay slurs piles up

MSNBC and NBC News are facing accusations of hypocrisy for appearing to stand behind star Joy Ann Reid, even after the embattled news star kinda-sorta admitted writing homophobic slurs that she’d previously insisted were the work of diabolical hackers. Reid had even said she reported the hacking “crime” to the FBI.

“MSNBC executives remain supportive of Reid. They believe she did well in her statement on her show on Saturday and have noted the large outpouring of positive support she’s received,” an unnamed network spokesperson told NPR in what they made sure to call an unofficial statement. 

Reid’s somber statement on her show on Saturday ‒ in which she admitted the old slurs did not appear to be the result of hacking and apologized profusely for comments she claimed not to remember making ‒ has NBC News executives hopeful the controversy will just go away.

Conservative commentator Carmine Sabia told Fox News that NBC’s velvet-gloved treatment of Reid represents the clear double standard that is rampant in mainstream media.

“There are two sets of rules and that has to be a glaring fact to anyone even pretending to pay attention to what is happening,” Sabia told Fox News.

“There are two sets of rules and that has to be a glaring fact to anyone even pretending to pay attention to what is happening."

- Conservative commentator Carmine Sabia

Comments dug up by a Twitter user and published by Mediaite showed that Reid wrote numerous offensive jokes and comments several years ago about gay people on her now defunct blog, “The Reid Report.”

Initially, Reid apologized profusely for offensive comments she made roughly a decade ago suggesting that Florida Governor Charlie Crist (“Miss Charlie,” as she called him) may be gay, despite no evidence to back up her contention. But when a new raft of offensive comments surfaced ‒ about some lesbians' short haircuts and her objections to seeing men kiss men, among other homophobic remarks ‒ Reid originally claimed she’d been hacked, and MSNBC circulated a much-panned statement from a computer hacking “expert” which sought to make that case.

“I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things."

- MSNBC host Joy Reid

On Saturday, Reid got emotional on the air and admitted it seemed unlikely she was hacked, but that she didn’t recall making the offensive remarks, for which she apologized anyway.

“I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things,” Reid told her viewers, adding, "The person I am now is not the person I was then."

“Lies, lies and more lies,” an NBC insider told Fox News, referring to Reid’s statement. 

But after her Saturday remarks, Reid was showered with support from her fellow liberals and MSNBC colleagues, including by the most powerful person at MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, who is openly gay:

“Brains, guts, heart and soul — beloved Joy Reid has always been a treasured and brilliant colleague, but I've never been prouder to work with her than I am now,” Maddow tweeted.

joy reid3

Joy Reid admitted it is unlikely homophobic remarks were planted on her old blog by a hacker.

NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck predicted to Fox News that because Reid is a “liberal darling,” MSNBC will continue to defend her, despite her shockingly homophobic remarks, as long as she pushes the network’s anti-Trump viewpoints.

“If Reid were a conservative… CNN would have six-person panel discussions about how this marks a new low for the right and their supposed incivility,” Houck said. “Even taking out the content of what she said, Reid's lying is what most people can agree on as being a very bad thing. This is par for the course at NBC as, after all, Brian Williams is now one of the top faces of MSNBC.”

Indeed, Brian Williams, who was caught telling fibs about his heroism during the second Gulf War, was punished in 2015 by being moved from NBC’s broadcast network to MSNBC, where he hosts a nightly 11 p.m. show.

“We now have three shows on MSNBC hosted by confirmed liars,” the NBC insider told Fox News, referring to shows hosted by Reid, Williams and also the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Sharpton has for years been harshly criticized for his role in fanning the flames in the notorious case of Tawana Brawley, who faked a racially charged rape.

Sabia said that if a conservative made the comments that Reid is accused of making, their “career would be done” and it would be covered nonstop on both CNN and MSNBC.  

Mediaite columnist Joseph Wulfsohn agreed.

“If a conservative made those same homophobic blogs... there's not a doubt that Joy Reid and her colleagues at MSNBC would shame them until their careers were destroyed."

- Mediaite columnist Joseph Wulfsohn

“If a conservative made those same homophobic blogs years ago that had resurfaced and then lied about hackers fabricating them, there's not a doubt that Joy Reid and her colleagues at MSNBC would shame them until their careers were destroyed,” he told Fox News.

While many media watchdogs outside of NBC’s echo chamber think Reid’s double standard hurts the credibility of journalists as a whole, her employer appears to be giving the liberal star a pass for both her offensive comments and apparently lying about them.  

“Most people have evolved on their views of LGBT issues, but these NBC personalities who have defended Reid would not be as forgiving to a conservative,” Wulfsohn said.

Conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News that if Reid weren’t a liberal herself, MSNBC “would have fired her and the pitch fork wielding liberal press would have celebrated another trophy kill.” Barron said that her “bizarre non-apology apology and dumb lie” would have sent a Trump supporter to the unemployment line.

“Reid wouldn’t be able to find work sweeping the floors and emptying trash cans at a news outlet if she were a conservative."

- Conservative strategist Chris Barron

“Reid wouldn’t be able to find work sweeping the floors and emptying trash cans at a news outlet if she were a conservative,” Barron said.

“It is striking ― and disturbing ― that Reid’s colleagues and her employer aren’t demanding answers about her seemingly contradictory statements on the alleged hacking,” HuffPost reporter Hayley Miller wrote

Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino called it “pathetic,” “disgusting” and “disturbing” that Reid was able to lie about her past behavior as opposed to Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, who saw his career unravel after Democrats allegedly falsified his past behavior. 

Conservative commentator Joe Walsh pointed out that MSNBC ripped the Trump administration when the Inauguration Day crowd size was questioned, but Reid “lies about hateful, bigoted things she wrote on her own blog” and was praised by colleagues. 

Walsh then asked his followers, “Why isn't @JoyAnnReid's employer, @MSNBC, demanding to know if she lied to them about being hacked? If MSNBC won't pursue the truth within their own organization, why should we believe they'll pursue the truth in their reporting?

Curt Schilling tweeted, “There is now 1000% more evidence Joy Reid is homophobic than there is tying Trump to Russia.”

Political commentator S.E. Cupp said she has supported gay rights for two decades and is horrified by Reid’s comments but the cover up makes the situation even worse.

“I’m sickened, as an LGBTQ supporter, that she said them,” Cupp tweeted. “But I’m mad as a journalist that she lied. To her network, her viewers, and her colleagues. Trust is built on these moments.”

Cupp continued, “Can she maybe start talking about the homophobia within some of the African American community instead of just trying to save her job? Her original hatred was real. And a problem.”  


Sexual harassment allegations directed at NBC News legend Tom Brokaw puts the network in a tough spot regarding Reid.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Reid “could be in very serious trouble” with law enforcement if she made up the story about hackers planting the anti-gay blog posts.

MSNBC may be in a bind regarding Reid as NBC News rallies around Tom Brokaw, who was recently accused of giving an unwanted kiss to then-NBC correspondent Linda Vester in the 1990s. Brokaw has strenuously denied the allegations.

“How can they fire a black woman for some insensitive comments she made years ago when they keep on board a millionaire white male sexual predator and the white male executives who’ve enabled people like him?” another NBC insider posited to Fox News last week.

MSNBC already faced accusations of racism when in 2016 it pulled the plug on African-American weekend host Melissa Harris Perry, who’d spoken in frustration about her show being blown out for campaign news and the feeling she was being sidelined. At the time, Perry wrote of MSNBC executives that, “I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy or little brown bobble head.”

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.