MSBC show host Melissa Harris-Perry gave a tearful apology to former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for comments made on her program about his adopted, African-American grandchild, Kiernan Romney. Speaking on-air on January 4, Harris-Perry said on the morning edition of her eponymous program “I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny, or deserving of ridicule.”
Harris-Perry said, with tear-filled eyes and a hoarse voice, that she was apologizing to the former Massachusetts governor and his family “without reservation or qualification” while adding, “My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off-limits. For that, I am sorry.”
It was on December 29 that a panelist on Harris-Perry’s show, Dean Obeidallah, joked about a photograph of Romney and wife accompanied by their grandchildren. Critics of the program felt that the photo was used to claim that the Republican Party is monochromatic. Said Obeidallah, “It sums up the diversity of the Republican Party and the [Republican National Committee], where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.”
On air, Harris-Perry joked that she hoped to see Romney’s grandchild marry Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s daughter, North. “Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?” she said. Kanye West is an African-American singer.
During her January 4 apology, Harris-Perry claimed that her comments are not representative of the ideals her show purportedly promotes. “On this program, we are dedicated to advocating for a wide diversity of families, it is one of our core principles,” Harris-Perry said. “And I am reminded that when we do so, it must be with the utmost respect. We’re genuinely appreciative of everyone who offered serious criticisms of last Sunday’s program, and I am reminded that our fiercest critics can sometimes be our best teachers.”
Coincidently, former governor Romney will be interviewed on January 5 by Chris Wallace on the Fox News Sunday program. This coincided with widespread criticism of Harris-Perry on disparate news networks and pundits including former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Fox, CNN, and Breitbart.