MSNBC Cuts Ties With Melissa Harris-Perry
Two days after MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry refused to return to host her weekend talk show due to repeated show pre-emptions, the network has officially cut ties with the host.
According to the New York Times, an MSNBC spokesman on Sunday confirmed that the network and Ms. Harris-Perry were “parting ways.” Ms. Harris-Perry said in an email on Sunday that she was not in direct communication with anyone at the network but that “terms of severance, not reconciliation” were still being negotiated.
On Friday, she went public with an email that she sent that week to staff members in which she complained that the NBC News chairman Andrew Lack and Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, were letting her twist in the wind.
“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” she wrote. “I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin, or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.”
Issues began to arise a few weeks ago when Harris-Perry complained that the branding for her show began to disappear and be replaced with MSNBC’s slogan, “The Place for Politics.” Ari Melber, the MSNBC correspondent, hosted her show from New York, and Ms. Harris-Perry appeared from Iowa. She said she “felt like a guest” on her own show. She wanted to host the show from Iowa but was told the network had “Insufficient resources” to make it happen.
After the Super Bowl, Harris-Perry wanted to discuss the “Formation” video released by the artist Beyonce as well as her super bowl performance and how it addresses race. MSNBC wanted her to jump back into politics. As she discussed the Beyonce controversy anyway, MSNBC showed footage of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie rallies in New Hampshire appeared in a box onscreen. This is the last day she would appear on the show.
After two weeks of pre-emptions, Ms. Harris-Perry was invited to come back on the air this weekend. But in her email to her colleagues, she said she wasn’t going to return. As far as she was concerned, the show had been cancelled.