It’s basically in every human being’s nature to not want to go to work on occasion, whether it’s due to sickness, fatigue, emotional problems or an all-around lack of interest. MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts the self-titled current affairs series, is currently refusing to return to her hosting gig this weekend over disputes with the network concerning repeated preemptions of her show and other acts that have made her feel like no one at MSNBC gives a shit about her input.
Harris-Perry publically shared an email she sent her staff, which detailed her reasoning behind her possibly permanent exit.
Here is the reality: our show was taken – without comment or discussion or notice – in the midst of an election season. After four years of building an audience, developing a brand, and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced. Now, MSNBC would like me to appear for four inconsequential hours to read news that they deem relevant without returning to our team any of the editorial control and authority that makes MHP Show distinctive.
For some weeks, MSNBC has chosen to push Melissa Harris-Perry aside to focus more on election coverage, most recently related to South Carolina and New Hampshire primaries. And apparently she was told that these kinds of schedule changes would be happening for an undetermined amount of time, presumably all the way up until the election and beyond.
And even when she has actually made it to air, with Super Bowl Sunday as the last instance, Harris-Perry told The New York Times that she was pushed to cover the presidential race, rather than the topics of diversity and race that the show has focused on since it began. And though she still managed to bring up other topics, such as Beyoncé, the network still ran live coverage of political candidates in a small box on the screen. Everything apparently collided in the host’s brain and she decided enough was enough.
In the email, Harris-Perry calls out MSNBC president Phil Griffin and NBC News chairman Andrew Lack multiple times, saying she won’t be a “tool for their purposes” or a “token, mammy or little brown bobble head.” (If there was a moment to cringe in that email, which you can read in its entirety, it was definitely that line.) And she basically puts her future at MSNBC in the network’s hands as her email comes to a close.
While MSNBC may believe that I am worthless, I know better. I know who I am. I know why MHP Show is unique and valuable. I will not sell short myself or this show. I am not hungry for empty airtime. I care only about substantive, meaningful, and autonomous work. When we can do that, I will return?—?not a moment earlier.
MSNBC hasn’t exactly had a stellar reputation or stellar ratings as of late, and it was where Brian Williams was sent as punishment. This can’t look like a good thing to the execs, unless they were really just trying to force her exit by doing all this.
Melissa Harris-Perry was scheduled for its normal two-hour airings on both Saturday and Sunday, and Joy Reid will be taking over the slot as she has in the past. Do you guys think Melissa Harris-Perry has a point here?