On Monday, MSNBC decided not to renew its contract with contributor Sam Seder because of a satirical tweet about rape that he wrote in 2009. The now-deleted tweet had been unearthed and circulated by pro-Trump Online Man Mike Cernovich as part of a targeted right-wing smear campaign against Seder.
MSNBC faced huge backlash for caving into far-right trolls and cutting ties with Seder over a joke tweet that was clearly taken out of context. The Intercept’s Ryan Grim, a former MSNBC contributor himself, started a petition to re-hire Seder that got over 12,000 signatures and MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted the following:
It turns out that MSNBC actually listened. On Thursday, The Intercept reported that Seder will be re-joining the network as a contributor. MSNBC president Phil Griffin told the site in a statement:
Sometimes you just get one wrong and that’s what happened here. We made our initial decision for the right reasons — because we don’t consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about. But we’ve heard the feedback, and we understand the point Sam was trying to make in that tweet was actually in line with our values, even though the language was not. Sam will be welcome on our air going forward.
Of course, all of this could have been avoided if the higher-ups at MSNBC had just stopped for a second to think about the implications of their decision in the first place instead of being craven idiots.