MSNBC star Joy Reid is set to co-host a town hall event on racism as questions about homophobic comments on her pre-fame blog remain unaddressed by the embattled Peacock Network.
“This shows MSNBC is doubling down on Joy Reid and making clear that her questionable claims about old postings aren't that important to them,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck told Fox News. Conservative commentator Carmine Sabia told Fox News that the move reeks of hypocrisy.
“She gave a half-hearted apology for the homophobic rants in her past, where she did not even acknowledge that she said what she said, and now she is going to preach to America about discrimination? It is ridiculous,” Sabia said.
“She gave a half-hearted apology for the homophobic rants in her past, where she did not even acknowledge that she said what she said, and now she is going to preach to America about discrimination? It is ridiculous."
Last month, Reid kinda-sorta admitted to writing homophobic slurs that she’d previously insisted were the work of diabolical hackers. After days of speculation about her future, the “AM Joy” host addressed the situation during the April 28 episode of her show that airs every Saturday and Sunday morning.
“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."
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.
MSNBC and NBC News faced an onslaught of criticism for remaining stone silent about Reid’s controversial past, which included homophobic digs at the network’s biggest cash cow, Rachel Maddow -- who is openly gay.
Reid will now join Chris Hayes as co-moderators for MSNBC’s town hall event “Everyday Racism in America,” which “will explore the current state of race relations in America,” according to a press release distributed by the network.
It will be broadcast at 9pm May 29 from Philadelphia.
“It’s absolutely laughable for Joy Reid to host a town hall on racism while failing to account or be held accountable for her own bigotry,” conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News.
Politcal commentator Britt McHenry told Fox News the move is “stunningly tone deaf,” especially since her past narrow-mindedness was exposed so recently.
"To just gloss over her homophobia and then blatant lies to cover it up, hardly demonstrates fair treatment and ethics."
“It’s one thing if they tried to trot her out six months from the controversy, where at least some time had elapsed. But to just gloss over her homophobia and then blatant lies to cover it up, hardly demonstrates fair treatment and ethics,” McHenry told Fox News.
Reid apologized last year when homophobic comments she made prior to landing a gig at MSNBC were unearthed by a Twitter user and reported by Mediaite. But in April, Mediaite reported that Reid originally blamed “an unknown, external party” for a newly uncovered batch of anti-gay comments that popped up on archived images of her old blog.
Reid’s hacker claim fell apart and was mocked by critics, but MSNBC kept her on the air throughout the entire ordeal. Reid even told Mediaite that she had “notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach,” but eventually admitted there was no evidence to back up her story.
The slurs on Reid’s old site also include comments about “lesbian hair,” numerous attempts to expose closeted gay men, calling homosexual sex “gross,” assumptions that gay men prey on young boys and an assortment of jabs at Maddow, whom she allegedly called “at the left-most end of the political spectrum.”
Prominent LGBTQ organization PFLAG National rescinded its Straight for Equality in Media award to Reid amid the scandal.
“It is unbelievable that MSNBC would continue to trot her out given the multiple preposterous stories she has told to avoid simply saying - I wrote these things, I believed these things, I was wrong,” Barron said.
Mediaite columnist Joseph Wulfsohn told Fox News that the town hall could be “a bit awkward” on the heels of Reid's latest controversy but he feels the network is ultimately to blame.
“What’s more remarkable is that MSNBC is willing to allow a prominent host from their network to lie to the American people about her old blog being hacked and not face any sort of repercussions,” Wulfsohn said. “Even if she has evolved on LGBT issues, her credibility as a cable news host -- despite her loyal following -- is tarnished and so is the NBC brand.”
MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.