The Intercept reported Thursday that MSNBC will reverse its decision to end its contract with contributor Sam Seder over a satirical tweet he sent in 2009 that became the focus of a right-wing outrage campaign organized by blogger Mike Cernovich. In a statement, Seder said that he would be accepting their offer to return to the network.
“I appreciate MSNBC’s thoughtful reconsideration and willingness to understand the cynical motives of those who intentionally misrepresented my tweet for their own toxic, political purposes,” Seder said in a statement to The Intercept. “We are experiencing an important and long overdue moment of empowerment for the victims of sexual assault and of reckoning for their perpetrators. I’m proud that MSNBC and its staff have set a clear example of the need to get it right.”
The tweet, which has since been deleted, referenced child rape accusations against Roman Polanski and was meant, Seder said, as a criticism of the director’s supporters. Cernovich, best known for spreading the Pizzagate conspiracy last year and his own concerning history of making statements that seem to advocate for sexual assault, found the tweet and started an online crusade to get Seder fired, claiming it promoted rape. On Monday, MSNBC announced it would not be renewing Seder’s contract when it expired next year.
That decision resulted in swift criticism of the network from many who took Cernovich’s position to be a bad faith interpretation of what was an obviously critical, if in poor taste, comment on the entertainment industry’s protection of abusers.
In a statement Thursday, MSNBC President Phil Griffin seemed to agree:
“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.”
Cernovich has yet to comment on the reversal.