Last week, Melissa Harris-Perry became the latest MSNBC host to incur the wrath of the right — along with some other people — after a panel of comedians on her show joked about a Romney family photo featuring Ben Romney’s black adopted son, Kieran. While her guests offered apologies of various degrees of contrition, Harris-Perry (who also called Kieran “gorgeous” while discussing the picture) wrote on Twitter that she was sorry, “Without reservation or qualification.” She added, “As black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity w/ Romney family pic & never meant to suggest otherwise.”
On Saturday morning, Harris-Perry opened her show with another “without reservation or qualification” apology. After briefly recapping the offending segment, she repeated that she “identified” with the Romney image. “I intended to say positive and celebratory things about it, but whatever the intent was, the reality is that the segment proceeded in a way that was offensive. And showing the photo in that context of that segment was poor judgement … Adults who enter into public life, implicitly consent to having less privacy, but their families, especially their children, should not be treated callously or thoughtlessly. My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off-limits. For that I am sorry.”
Harris-Perry teared up as she continued her apology, which she directed toward “other families formed through trans-racial adoption, because I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule.”
Mitt Romney is scheduled to address the controversy on Fox News Sunday, so this isn’t quite over yet. But with Harris-Perry now having offered two very genuine-seeming apologies, it seems that it should be soon. Of course, the people who responded to the episode by attacking Harris-Perry and one of her panelists, Pia Glenn, with racial slurs on Twitter are free to offer their own “sorry” anytime.