It looks like Melissa Harris-Perry has a resolution in her ongoing battle with MSNBC, but it’s not exactly what she wanted.
The host of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show, better known as MHP Show or #Nerdland as she affectionately termed it, is out at the political news network after not seeing eye-to-eye with executives over the direction of her show.
Frustrated by weeks of being pre-empted for election coverage, Harris-Perry fired off an open letter to her staff late last week about how, even though MSNBC would have allowed her back on air over the weekend, she wasn’t going to cave.
The letter, which blamed MSNBC execs for keeping her off the air without a clear reason or explanation, read in part (below):
“Some unknown decision-maker, presumably Andy Lack or Phil Griffin, has added my name to this spreadsheet, but nothing has changed in the posture of the MSNBC leadership team toward me or toward our show. Putting me on air seems to be a decision being made solely to save face because there is a growing chorus of questions from our viewers about my notable absence from MSNBC coverage. Social media has noted the dramatic change in editorial tone and racial composition of MSNBC’s on-air coverage. In addition, Dylan Byers of CNN has made repeated inquiries with MSNBC’s leadership and with me about the show and what appears to be its cancellation. I have not responded to reporters or social media inquiries. However, I am not willing to appear on air in order to quell concerns about the disappearance of our show and our voice.
Here is the reality: our show was taken├óΓé¼┼á├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥├óΓé¼┼áwithout comment or discussion or notice├óΓé¼┼á├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥├óΓé¼┼áin 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.”
“The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover for MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. 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. I have wept more tears than I can count and I find this deeply painful, but I don’t want back on air at any cost. I am only willing to return when that return happens under certain terms …
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├óΓé¼┼á├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥├óΓé¼┼ánot a moment earlier. I am deeply sorry for the ways that this decision makes life harder for all of you. You mean more to me than you can imagine.”
The host wanted to discuss the video and what it mean for race in America… and MSNBC was not down for that (below):
“When she said wanted to discuss Beyonc├â┬⌐’s new video, ├óΓé¼╦£Formation,’ and how it addresses race, she said she was encouraged to focus on the election instead. She wound up discussing the video anyway but as she did, footage of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie rallies in New Hampshire appeared in a box, an indication that the network’s priorities were shifting.”
For what it’s worth, both Jeb and Christie are long gone from the presidential race, but hey, whatever MSNBC…
On Sunday, Harris-Perry shared her admiration and sadness for #Nerdland with a tweet (below):
Farewell #Nerdland. Inviting diverse new voices to table was a privilege. Grateful for years of support & criticism. pic.twitter.com/DJ7MMvVreN
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) February 28, 2016
Even if it meant losing her show, good for MHP for refusing to back down from her principles and passions.
Oh, and when can we talk about #MSNBCSoWhite? Because seriously…
[Image via Derrick Salters/WENN.]