After incurring the wrath of everyone on the right, from Twitter randoms to various Fox News hosts to sometime free-speech defender Sarah Palin, those involved in joking about Mitt Romney's black adopted grandson on MSNBC Monday have all apologized, with varying degrees of contrition. While host Melissa Harris-Perry took to Twitter and MSNBC.com to offer her apology "without reservation or qualification," her fellow panelist Dean Obeidallah has a somewhat more contentious follow-up on the Daily Beast, in which he apologizes to the Romneys, "but not the wingnuts." Panelist Pia Glenn, meanwhile, had already apologized on Twitter.
Perry, the host of the show, stayed pretty quiet on Monday as the right-wing uproar grew, but early on Tuesday morning, she offered a series of apologetic tweets that she then rounded up in a post on MSNBC.com, in which she said that the "intent of featuring the photo was to celebrate it," but that "whatever the intent, the segment proceeded in an unexpected way that was offensive. Without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family and to all families built on loving transracial adoptions."
As black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity w/ Romney family pic & never meant to suggest otherwise. #MHPapology— Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) December 31, 2013
Obeidallah, in a Daily Beast post titled "Confessions of a Baby Bully," was far less contrite. In one of the ten paragraphs in his piece, Obeidallah offered an apology to the Romney family:
I want to sincerely apologize to the Romney family if anyone was offended by my joke. I did not in anyway mean to attack the Romney family for adopting a child, which is truly commendable. Nor did I intend to mock baby Kieran in any way. I would never intentionally demonize people in that manner.
But he used the rest of the space to defend the material as a critique of politics and the right wing, and to call out the hypocrisy of his critics, writing that he "kept waiting for Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal to defend me like they recently stood up for Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson."
Pia Glenn offered a series of conciliatory tweets on Monday:
In a spontaneous reaction to a photo,my disdain for Mitt Romney's political platform led me to inadvertently insult adoptive families.— Pia Glenn (@PiaGlenn) December 31, 2013
I can say all day what I "meant", but my intentions do not negate the very real pain I have caused. I sincerely apologize.— Pia Glenn (@PiaGlenn) December 31, 2013
I am absolutely aware of the added challenges of interracial adoptive families and I see how I added to that. I did not mean to.Still wrong.— Pia Glenn (@PiaGlenn) December 31, 2013
By Tuesday, Glenn was fighting off some pretty vitriolic racist attacks, and the hashtag #StandWithPia had popped up to defend her with photos of animals, in Twitter's standard currency of cuteness. But animals and apologies aside, we're pretty sure everyone involved here will be glad to take the rest of the day off and find an open bar somewhere.