Actor Kevin Hart was recently forced to step down from hosting the Oscars for homophobic comments he made nearly ten years ago and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray was forced to apologize for his use of the word “queer” when he was 15 years old, so people would expect some sort of backlash when MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski uses a homophobic slur on-air.
But this was not the case as Politico reports the MSNBC host did not face any professional repercussions.
During a “Morning Joe” segment on Wednesday, Brzezinski called Secretary of state Mike Pompeo “a wannabe dictator’s butt boy.”
The comment was widely criticized by conservatives, including German Ambassador Richard Grenell, who is openly gay, and President Trump—but none of Brzezinski’s colleagues criticized her the way Hart and others were criticized.
As Politico reports, Brzezinski did issue an on-air apology two days later:
At the beginning of Friday’s show, Brzezinski said she wanted to address a “vulgar” term that she used on Wednesday’s show, describing the comment as “a mistake.” The MSNBC host did not anchor Thursday’s show, with her co-host and husband Joe Scarborough saying she had a previous family engagement.
“I knew it right away and I tweeted that it was a terrible choice of words and that I was sorry,” she said. “But please allow me to say this face-to-face. The term is crass and offensive and I apologize to everyone, especially the LGBTQ community and to my colleagues for using it.”
Brzezinski criticized Pompeo for an interview he did with Fox News in which he repeatedly sidestepped answering whether he believed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman orchestrated the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the regime.
“Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard, when he appeared on ‘Fox & Friends,‘ is that a patriot speaking or a wannabe dictator’s butt boy? Dead serious, I’m asking,” the host said, which was not censored by MSNBC. “Are these the words of a patriot?”
The MSNBC host apologized in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, saying “Totally agree with you -SUPER BAD choice of words .. I should have said ‘water boy’… like for football teams or something like that.”
“SO SORRY!” she generically added.
Grenell said Brzezinski’s words were “unacceptable and deeply disturbing.” They “demean, mock, and therefore try to control” the gay community Grenell also said.
“Outrageous,” Grenell wrote. “This is totally unacceptable & deeply disturbing. Sexualizing gay people this way is designed to control them & minimize our worth.”
“Accepting apologies is important. We all fail,” Grenell wrote. “But I don’t see that you’ve actually apologized to gays? Your words demean, mock and therefore try to control whole groups by minimizing our humanity. @morningmika”
Here’s how some other people responded:
President Trump similarly criticized the use of the term and contended that she was being treated very lightly compared to a situation in which a conservative used it.
“Neither apology will likely satisfy President Donald Trump, who holds Brzezinski and her co-host and husband, Joe Scarborough, in particularly poor regard,” the USA Today reports. “On Thursday, he reiterated his belief that the press treats conservatives far more harshly than liberals when covering such incidents.
“If it was a Conservative that said what “crazed” Mika Brzezinski stated on her show yesterday, using a certain horrible term, that person would be banned permanently from television,” Trump tweeted.
“She will probably be given a pass, despite their terrible ratings,” Trump predicted. “Congratulations to @RichardGrenell, our great Ambassador to Germany, for having the courage to take this horrible issue on!”
As Fox News reports, conservative Megyn Kelly was fired over her “blackface” comment:
If Trump is accurate that Brzezinski will get a pass, it’s a drastic difference compared to the way NBC News handled now-former host Megyn Kelly’s infamous “blackface” comment. Kelly’s on-air gaffe resulted in segments on a variety of NBC News programs and her own colleagues, including Savannah Guthrie, Craig Melvin, and Al Roker, openly condemned her remarks before she was able to give her on-air apology. The troubled “Megyn Kelly Today” was eventually canceled as a result.
It is unclear why Kelly’s remark was a fireable offense, while no disciplinary actions were immediately taken against Brzezinski – who was absent from “Morning Joe” on Thursday because of what the network called a planned day off.
NBC News did not immediately respond when asked for a guide on what the network considers inappropriate.
Meanwhile, Brzezinski isn’t the first MSNBC star to make homophobic remarks.
Joy Reid infamously claimed hateful and anti-gay rhetoric on her pre-fame blog was planted by diabolical hackers – a claim that quickly fell apart. Reid had even said she reported the hacking “crime” to the FBI. She eventually kinda-sorta admitted writing homophobic slurs.
MSNBC stood by Reid and she continues to host a show on the network.