- (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
- (Photo: Screen Grab via YouTube)
Republicans had begun a boycott of MSNBC Thursday night after the company posted a tweet accusing Republicans of racism in relation to a biracial couple. The boycott ended only hours later after MSNBC President Phil Griffin personally apologized. On Friday morning, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus said MSNBC was on "probation" because it has been "hitting on all eight cylinders of intolerance."
The controversy began Wednesday when an MSNBC staffer tweeted, "Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family." The tweet contained a link to a new Cheerios ad featuring a biracial family that will air during the Super Bowl.
Republicans expressed outrage. Republicans from biracial families noted their disappointment with MSNBC by posting family photos on Twitter using the hashtag #MyRightWingBiracialFamily.
Later the same day, MSNBC deleted the tweet and posted an apology to its twitter account: "We are deleting the earlier offensive tweet. It does not reflect msnbc's position and we apologize."
On Thursday, Priebus sent a letter to Griffin saying that until he personally apologized he was banning "all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC."
"Sadly, such petty and demeaning attacks have become a pattern at your network. With increasing frequency many of your hosts have personally denigrated and demeaned Americans – especially conservative and Republican Americans – without even attempting to further meaningful political dialogue," he added.
Hours later, Griffin personally apologized and said the staffer who posted the tweet had been fired: "The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable. We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet. I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended. At msnbc we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change."
The RNC accepted the apology and called off the boycott.
Thursday evening, Priebus said the network was on "probation."
"In their professed world of tolerance, they're sure hitting on all eight cylinders of intolerance," Priebus said on Fox News' "Hannity," according to Politico.
"Now we have to stay on top of it. So you know what? It's sort of like being on probation I guess. But the fact of the matter is, we're here, we're watching them," he added.
The offensive tweet was the latest in a series of similar incidents.
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry recently gave a tearful apology after a segment on her show in which her guests teased Mitt Romney about his adopted black grandson. MSNBC host Martin Bashir resigned after calling Sarah Palin a "world class idiot" and saying someone should defecate in her mouth. Actor Alec Baldwin left the network after using an anti-gay slur. And on Tuesday after Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union Address, MSNBC host Alex Wagner tweeted, "Living room. Lady on a settee. Where's the needlepoint?"