MSNBC host Joy Reid faced scrutiny over the past few weeks after her old blog posts came to the surface with some alarming and questionable content. Buzzfeed News uncovered online statements written by Reid involving homophobic remarks and topics such as 9/11 and the Virginia Tech shooting. On Friday, Reid released another in a string of apologies regarding these posts.
Last December, a Twitter user uncovered nearly a dozen posts from Reid’s former blog expressing homophobic opinions, for which Reid released her first statement apologizing for what she deemed to be insensitive comments and expressing disappointment in herself. But that was not the last of it, as more homophobic content came to the surface in April.
This time the Hollywood reporter took another approach, saying that her blog must have been hacked and that she would not have written such hateful messages. Although studies showed no evidence of hacking, she argued that the content of the offensive comments did not match the rest of her blog, though she did apologize on the air for them just the same.
Yet, Reid was still not cleared from controversy after Buzzfeed News discovered even more contentious blog publications last week. Buzzfeed News uncovered pictures with Senator John McCain’s head photoshopped onto the body of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooter, who killed 32 people in the Virginia Tech massacre. The senator’s daughter tweeted about the issue, calling it “disgusting,” spurring Reid to reach out and apologize to Ms. McCain personally, in addition to issuing a public apology.
On top of this, Buzzfeed News also uncovered old posts on Reid’s blog promoting “Loose Change,” a conspiracy theory about 9/11 being planned by the United States government itself. Reid released yet another statement of remorse on Friday, stating that she considers herself a better person than she was over a decade ago.
MSNBC also spoke out about the chaos surrounding the host, and although they called her comments hateful and hurtful, they do not seem to think that the statements reflect her current state of mind. Therefore, it does not appear that Reid’s career faces any danger, as her show aired per usual on Saturday.
Reid was not the only one to be caught in a free-speech dispute last week, joined by Samantha Bee and, most prominently, Roseanne Barr. Barr did face termination from ABC along with the cancellation of the reprisal of her ’90s sitcom. The key difference between the two outspoken women’s cases is the time difference, as Reid’s situation involves comments made over 10 years prior to her time with MSNBC, while Barr issued offensive statements just last week.
Another distinction between the Reid case and the Barr case that may prove indicative of their network’s drastically different responses is that Reid has developed a reputation for being a prominent liberal figure, while this is not the first time that Barr has faced allegations regarding offensive comments that appear to stem from her far-right political beliefs. The one-season reboot of Barr’s hit sitcom, “Roseanne,” involved her character being a proud Trump supporter, and often explored racist plot lines.
While the TV celebrities come from opposing political perspectives and have faced different consequences for their radical opinions, it is an unfortunate truth that their particular controversies will likely not be the last to be brought to light.