Melissa Harris-Perry will reportedly be fired after the MSNBC host went on a tirade against the network accusing it of using her as a token minority and then skipped out on her planned show on Saturday.
Harris-Perry refused to appear on her program on Saturday morning, sending out an email accusing the network of having racial motives for pre-empting her show for weeks. In the email, Harris complained that her show had been taken away for the network’s coverage of the political primaries.
Medium published the email in full, showing Melissa Harris-Perry’s growing frustration with the network.
“Here is the reality: our show was taken — without comment or discussion or notice — in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive.”
She also implied that there was a racial aspect to the decision to take her off the air.
“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms.”
This weekend would have been the first time in weeks that Melissa Harris-Perry appeared on MSNBC after presidential elections led the network to sideline her.
Reports emerged on Saturday night that Melissa Harris-Perry would be fired for her feud with MSNBC. The network has yet to make that official, but did call her decision not to appear on the air “disappointing.”
“In this exciting and unpredictable presidential primary season, many of our daytime programs have been temporarily upended by breaking political coverage, including M.H.P,” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement (via the New York Times). “This reaction is really surprising, confusing and disappointing.”
Many of Melissa Harris-Perry’s followers had noted her absence, bringing it up on social media and imploring the network to bring her back. A similar campaign has been waged by fans of host Jose Diaz-Balart, who like Harris-Perry has been absent as political coverage has dominated programming.
The Washington Post noted that he is also in danger of being fired:
“Diaz-Balart’s hosting duties are also in question at the network, with one senior executive terming his chances of continuing his program beyond another month at “50-50.” Scenarios under review include extending the “Morning Joe” program into Diaz-Balart’s slot or creating a new program hosted by one of “Morning Joe’s” regular personalities.”
There have been some rumors in the network that Harris-Perry may have skipped out on her Saturday show because she assumed the show was going to be canceled, the Washington Post reported. But that perception was incorrect, network sources said, as MSNBC had no plans to cancel her show.
But her email seems to have changed that. The rumors indicate that Melissa Harris-Perry will indeed be fired, though it’s not clear when that could be made official.
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