MSNBC host Joy Reid opened her Saturday morning news talk show with another apology of sorts over homophobic blog posts and tweets that have cast her into a critical public spotlight yet again this week.
While Reid spoke at length about growing up homophobic and her efforts to acknowledge discriminatory things she’s written in the past in former blogs and tweets, she stopped just shy of taking full credit for the posts that most recently came to light. Reid seemed to again allude to some type of sophisticated—and probably unlikely—hacking effort to discredit her, although she did so in a more tempered manner without specifically mentioning any hacking.
Reid said she “couldn’t imagine” where the posts “had come from.” She called them “weird and hateful,” adding that she was “stunned” when a “friend found them in December” (emphasis mine):
“A community that I support and that I deeply care about is hurting because of some despicable and truly offensive posts being attributed to me. Now, many of you have seen these blog posts circulating online and in social media. Many of them are homophobic, discriminatory, and outright weird and hateful. When a friend found them in December and sent them to me, I was stunned. Frankly, I couldn’t imagine where they’d come from, or whose voice that was.
“In the months since, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sense of these posts. I hired cybersecurity experts to see if somebody had manipulated my words or my former blog. And the reality is they have not been able to prove it. But here’s what I know: I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things, because they are completely alien to me. But I can definitely understand based on things I have tweeted and have written in the past why some people don’t believe me. I’ve not been exempt from being dumb, or cruel, or hurtful to the very people I want to advocate for. I own that. I get it. And for that, I am truly sorry.”
Based on that part of the statement, it’s unclear exactly what she’s asking viewers to believe. That she was hacked? That she doesn’t remember writing the homophobic attacks published under her name?
Reid then apologized to Ann Coulter and the trans community, adding:
“Those tweets were wrong and horrible. I look back today at some of the ways I’ve talked casually about people and gender identity and sexual orientation, and I wonder who that even was. But the reality is that like a lot of people in this country, that person was me.”
She discussed growing up in a “conservative” household regarding LGBTQ issues, and said she had friends who she later learned were gay and had kept it a secret.
“I’m heartbroken that I didn’t do better back then knowing so many great people in the LGBTQ community…And I feel like I should have known better than to ever write or tweet in a way that could make fun of, or make light of, make light of that pain and that experience—even a decade ago, when the country was in a very different place. But I cannot take any of that back. I can only say that the person I am now is not the person I was then.
“I like to think I’ve gotten better as a person over time, that I’m still growing, that I’m not the same person I was 10, or five, or even one year ago. And I know that my goal is to try to be a better person and a better ally. Now the reality is I have to own the things that I’ve written and tweeted and said. And I’m hoping out of all of this there’s an opportunity to talk about the ways in which hurtful speech really does imperil marginalized communities.”
She added, “These issues matter, not just theoretically, but because we’re talking about our friends, our kids, our co–workers, people who deserve better than what I have sometimes given them.”
What remains to be seen is whether this new apology will be enough to stem the latest public wave of criticism and allow Reid to keep her job—and her viewers—at MSNBC.