I summarized this saga a couple of days ago. In 2009, there was a national debate about the crimes of Roman Polanski after he was arrested in Switzerland and efforts were made to extradite him to the U.S. to face justice. In a disgusting display, many in the Hollywood elite rallied around Polanski. Lefty Sam Seder, a former Air America host and MSNBC yakker, wrote a bitingly satirical tweet attacking Polanski’s defenders, who seemed to care more about Polanski’s talents as a director than his rape of a 13-year-old. Seder’s tweet read: “Dont care re Polanski, but i hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/ a great sense of mise en scene.” Recently, alt right nutcase Mike Cernovich dug up the old tweet and willfully misinterpreted it as support for Polanski. Cernovich drummed up fauxtrage from his cynical supporters, and got Seder fired from his MSNBC gig.
Now, Seder has been rehired:
Progressive radio and television personality Sam Seder will be offered his MSNBC contributor job back and plans to accept, according to multiple MSNBC sources.
Seder and MSNBC were set to part ways when his contributor contract expired next year, with reports indicating the departure had to do with a 2009 tweet from Seder surfaced by the far-right provocateur Mike Cernovich. After initially caving in to right-wing internet outrage over the tweet, MSNBC reversed its decision to not renew Seder’s contract.
. . . .
“Sometimes you just get one wrong,” said MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a statement to The Intercept, “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.”
Good. Seder is an unrepentant lefty, and I probably disagree with him on something between 90 to 99.999 percent of the things he says and believes. Nevertheless, his firing was disgraceful, and I’m very pleased to see that he has been re-hired.
Tom Kludt and Oliver Darcy, in a story written before Seder’s reinstatement, discuss the background in detail and explain how Cernovich’s absurd gloating helped MSNBC to reverse its decision:
After the news broke, Cernovich was triumphant.
“Thank you to everybody who emailed MSNBC,” Cernovich said in a video he posted on Twitter. “Thank you to all of you. You’re heroes. You’re heroes because you emailed MSNBC and you let them know about the tweet. You let them know the people will be heard.”
Elsewhere, MSNBC was pilloried for the decision, as critics pointed out that Seder was not actually excusing or making light of rape, but was in fact mocking Polanski’s defenders.
. . . .
An MSNBC executive who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said there had been considerable deliberation over the decision to cut ties with Seder, and that the network was unsettled by the celebratory reaction from certain segments of the right-wing.
The episode did have one positive effect in that it reminded many (and revealed to others) the past comments of someone who made light of rape. That person turned out to be Mike Cernovich, whose comments included such delightful turns of phrase as “Who cares about breast cancer and rape? Not me” and “Over 50% of women have rape fantasies.” These quotes and others are collected in all their glorious and non-exculpating context here:
If you’re looking to get upset about someone not taking rape seriously, your best target is not Sam Seder. It’s Mike Cernovich.
Congratulations to Seder for getting back his job so he can make the airwaves annoying again with wrongheaded political opinions. I won’t be watching, but I’ll sleep a little better knowing that Mike Cernovich lost.
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