MSNBC has reversed its decision to terminate Sam Seder, a podcast host and contributor to the network, after a right-wing campaign targeted him for a satirical tweet criticizing supporters of accused rapist Roman Polanski.
“Sometimes you just get one wrong,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin told the Intercept in a statement. “That’s what happened here.”
Griffin said the network initially fired Seder “for the right reasons — because we don’t consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about.”
“But we’ve heard the feedback, and we understand the point Sam was trying to make in that tweet was actually in line with our values, even though the language was not,” Griffin said. “Sam will be welcome on our air going forward.”
MSNBC on Tuesday fired Seder over a tweet he posted in 2009, and has since deleted, mocking Polanski’s defenders: “Don’t care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/a great sense of mise en scene.”
Alt-right provocateur Mike Cernovich, who is best known for promoting the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that led to a gunman firing an AR-15 assault rifle in a Washington, D.C. restaurant, cited Seder’s tweet in November in a Medium post titled “MSNBC Contributor Sam Seder Endorses Polanki’s Sex Crimes in Now Deleted Tweet.”
Cernovich’s stance on Seder’s tweet, which he appeared to read as sincere rather than satirical, was at odds with his own since-deleted posts on sexual violence and sex crimes. In 2012, Cernovich claimed that “date rape doesn’t exist” because “‘raping’ a girl without using force” is “basically impossible.”