MSNBC apologizes for Cheerios tweet hitting ‘right wing’
(CNN) — MSNBC President Phil Griffin apologized Thursday for what he called an “offensive” network tweet, which suggested that conservatives may “hate” a Cheerios Super Bowl ad featuring a racially mixed family.
Griffin said the person responsible for the tweet was fired.
“The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable,” Griffin said in a written statement. “We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet.”
The original tweet, which was posted Wednesday night, said: “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family.” The tweet included a link to an article about the commercial.
Griffin’s apology came after Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced Thursday morning he was banning his staff and RNC surrogates from appearing on MSNBC until the network’s president personally apologized.
“I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended,” Griffin said.
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said Priebus accepted the apology.
“We appreciate Mr. Griffin’s admission that their comment was demeaning and disgusting, and the Chairman accepted his apology,” Spicer said. “We will aggressively monitor the network to see whether their pattern of unacceptable behavior actually changes.”
The main MSNBC Twitter account also posted an apology Wednesday and said in another tweet, “We deeply regret it.”
“We can have our political disagreements with MSNBC,” Priebus said in an email blast earlier Thursday. “But using biracial families to launch petty and ridiculous political attacks is low, even by MSNBC’s standards. It only coarsens our political discourse. This is more than just a tweet or an offhand comment. This is part of a pattern of behavior that has gotten markedly worse.”
The Cheerios commercial features the same biracial family that appeared in an ad for the cereal brand last year. The ad sparked controversy after highlighting a family with a white mother and a black father.Priebus also noted a string of other controversies MSNBC has faced for criticizing Republicans.
In his complaint to MSNBC, Priebus referenced Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir, who were both let go from the network after they made offensive comments about homosexuals and Sarah Palin, respectively.
Melissa Harris-Perry, host of a weekend show, also apologized this month after a panel on her program made jokes involving Mitt Romney’s adopted black grandchild.
CNN Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter contributed to this report.