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Entertainment Weekly

TV

MSNBC's Joy Reid apologizes for making homophobic remarks in old blog posts

William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

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MSNBC host Joy Reid has issued an apology for blog posts she wrote a decade ago that show a pattern of using homophobic and offensive language to attack then-Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, calling her word choice “insensitive, tone deaf, and dumb.”

Twitter user @Jamie_Maz was the first to resurface articles published on the political commentator’s since-deleted Reid Report from 2007 to 2009. In about a dozen posts, Reid smeared Crist, whom she alleged without proof was gay, by calling him “Miss Charlie.” She tagged the posts “gay politicians” and “not gay politicians,” presumably sarcastically, and claimed that his marriages to two different women were elaborate cover-ups of his sexual orientation.

“Miss Charlie, Miss Charlie. Stop pretending, brother,” she wrote in a 2007 post. “It’s okay that you don’t go for the ladies.”

In her commentary on Crist, Reid would often resort to crass and homophobic descriptions. As she envisioned his honeymoon: “I can just see poor Charlie on the honeymoon, ogling the male waiters and thinking to himself, ‘God, do I actually have to see her naked…?’”

She also put forward several conspiracy theories relating Crist allegedly being gay but married to a woman to his validity as a VP candidate for John McCain in 2008. Among her many comments on the topic: “When a gay politician gets married, it usually indicates that he is highly ambitious, and desires to put himself in a position to move up the power ladder.”

Crist, who served as Florida’s governor as a Republican, has since changed his affiliation to Democrat and is now a U.S. congressman in the state’s 13th District and a vocal critic of his former party and the president. He filed for divorce from his wife of 10 years, Carole Rome, earlier this year.

In a statement provided to EW, Reid apologized for her choice of words while noting her intent to “call out potential hypocrisy” among Republicans. “This note is my apology to all who are disappointed by the content of blogs I wrote a decade ago, for which my choice of words and tone have legitimately been criticized,” she wrote. “As a writer, I pride myself on a facility with language — an economy of words or at least some wisdom in the selection. However, that clearly has not always been the case.”

Reid currently hosts the weekend morning show AM Joy on MSNBC, which has experienced strong ratings growth in the past year since Donald Trump’s election as president. She has emerged as one of the network’s signature voices, boasting a popular social media presence (with nearly 1 million Twitter followers) and a reputation for fiery, uncompromising debate. In October, a clip of her show went viral, in which she dismantled talking points of the Hillary Clinton-Uranium One conspiracy theory popular among some Republicans.

The Reid Report is no longer online and was accessed through the archive service Wayback Machine. At the time that the blog posts were written, Reid was a columnist for the Miami Herald.

Read Reid’s full apology below:

This note is my apology to all who are disappointed by the content of blogs I wrote a decade ago, for which my choice of words and tone have legitimately been criticized.

As a writer, I pride myself on a facility with language — an economy of words or at least some wisdom in the selection. However, that clearly has not always been the case.

In 2007 I was a morning talk radio host and blogger, writing about Florida politics (a blog I maintained until 2011.) Among the frequent subjects of my posts was then-governor Charlie Crist, at the time a conservative Republican, whose positions on issues like gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in Florida shared headlines with widely rumored reports that he was hiding his sexual orientation. Those reports were the subject of lots of scrutiny: by LGBTQ bloggers, writers and journalists, conservative blogs, a controversial documentary film called Outrage, and even by the comedic writers at South Park. But it was my own attempt at challenging Crist on my blog that has now raised the issue of not just my choice of words, but what was and is in my heart.

Let me be clear: at no time have I intentionally sought to demean or harm the LGBT community, which includes people whom I deeply love. My goal, in my ham-handed way, was to call out potential hypocrisy.

Nonetheless, as someone who is not a member of the LGBT community, I regret the way I addressed the complex issue of the closet and speculation on a person’s sexual orientation with a mocking tone and sarcasm. It was insensitive, tone deaf and dumb. There is no excusing it — not based on the taste-skewing mores of talk radio or the then-blogosphere, and not based on my intentions.

In addition to friends and coworkers and viewers, I deeply apologize to Congressman Crist, who was the target of my thoughtlessness. My critique of anti-LGBT positions he once held but has since abandoned was legitimate in my view. My means of critiquing were not.

In the years since I went from blogger to opinion journalist, I have also learned, through brilliant friends and allies in the LGBT activist community, how to better frame my critiques of those who challenge people’s right to love who they want, marry them, and walk in the world as fully free people.

Re-reading those old blog posts, I am disappointed in myself. I apologize to those who also are disappointed in me. Life can be humbling. It often is. But I hope that you know where my heart is, and that I will always strive to use my words for good. I know better and I will do better.

—Joy Reid

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