MSNBC anchor Joy Reid on Saturday morning offered a lengthy apology for a series of homophobic blog posts attributed to her, but continued to suggest she had not written them.
“I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things because they are completely alien to me,” she said, “but I can definitely understand based on things I have tweeted and I have written in the past why some people don’t believe me.”
Over the past week, the AM Joy host has offered a confusing series of explanations for newly unearthed blog posts and tweets in which she used gay stereotypes, expressed revulsion at homosexuality, decried gay love scenes in the movie Brokeback Mountain, and mocked gay celebrities like Anderson Cooper and Clay Aiken.
Reid initially apologized in December for separate posts joking that then-Gov. Charlie Crist was gay. But when the latest set of posts were revealed Monday, the MSNBC host seemingly reversed course, telling Mediaite that her old blog “has been compromised” and so she can “state unequivocally that it does not represent the original entries.”
With the assistance of a cybersecurity expert, Reid claimed that hackers must have breached her now-defunct website and fabricated homophobic posts in order to “taint my character with false information by distorting a blog that ended a decade ago.”
But a Daily Beast investigation of that alleged hacking, with evidence provided by Reid’s cybersecurity expert Jonathan Nichols, found that the claims fall apart under scrutiny.
During her Saturday monologue, Reid stood by her claim that she did not believe that she had written the posts, but apologized for her past jokes and comments about gay and transgender individuals.
Reid decried the “homophobic and discriminatory and hateful” nature of the posts, saying she was “stunned” when a friend sent them to her. “Frankly I couldn’t imagine where they came from and whose voice that was. I spent a lot of time trying to make sense of the posts,” she recounted. “I hired cyber security experts to see if somebody manipulated my words or former blog and the reality is they have not been able to prove it.”
And yet, she said, she still “genuinely” does not believe she wrote the posts.
Nevertheless, Reid apologized to transgender individuals and conservative commentator Ann Coulter for making transphobic jokes about her appearance. She also did acknowledge that many of her prior statements—outside the posts identified earlier this week—were “homophobic and discriminatory,” adding that she had “not been exempt for being dumb or cruel or hurtful to the very people I want to advocate for.”
“I cannot take any of that back,” Reid said. “I can only say that the person I am now is not the person I was then. I like to think that I’ve gotten better over time, that I’m still growing.”
She continued: “The reality is I have to own the things that I have written and tweeted and said and I’m hoping out of all of this there’s an opportunity to talk about the ways in which hurtful speak does imperil marginalized communities.”
Reid then brought on a panel of guests that included LGBTQ commentators and/or representatives from GLAAD, the ACLU, and PFLAG—the organization that initially rescinded an award for her in light of her hacking claims.
Though she invited the guests to “grill” her on her past comments, instead the friendly panel largely consoled Reid, praising her “courage” and “responsibility” for having the discussing and noting much her views have clearly evolved on LGBTQ matters.
“The Joy I know is someone who stands by me personally, who stands by me and my husband, stands by me and my community,” said Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart. “I don’t know a better place to be right now than to sit in the chair next to you.”
Towards the end of the segment, the panelists took the conversation off Reid entirely, instead claiming the controversy surrounding the MSNBC anchor’s resurfaced blog posts were part of a campaign to undermine prominent voices opposed to President Trump.
“This is a part of the new political and cultural landscape in this country. It is search and destroy,” GLAAD vice president Zeke Stokes said. “This is part of a concerted effort by people who do want to roll back our progress to take down voices that are powerful that are our allies.”
Stokes also criticized the media for reporting on Reid’s blog posts.
“They felt there was some blood in the water and there was going to be infighting, and everyone was going to jump on Joy Reid and bring her down,” he said.
Guests additionally pivoted to the fact that Reid’s comments were nearly a decade old, while Trump and his allies routinely bash the LGBTQ community in current times.
“I do find it problematic that we are jumping on you… about words that you used or may have used 10 years ago,” Sirius XM radio host Danielle Moody-Mills said. “But yet we allow the president to have a complete and total pass on things that are coming out of his mouth right now.”