MSNBC’s Joy Reid has been under scrutiny this week, after articles recovered from her now-defunct site revealed a litany of homophobic and transphobic statements.

J. Countess/Getty Images

When the posts were first reported on by Mediate, Reid claimed they were forgeries inserted after her site had been hacked by an “external party.” But in the wake of mounting questions, Reid issued an apology Saturday on AM Joy, admitting to writing statements she now describes as “despicable and wrong,” but insisting she truly believed she did not write them all.

“A community I support and deeply care about is hurting because of despicable and truly offensive posts being attributed to me,” Reid, 49, told viewers. “Many of you have seen the blogposts circulating online and social media. Many of them are homophobic and discriminatory and hateful. When a friend found them and sent them to me, I was stunned. Frankly I couldn’t imagine where they came from and whose voice that was.”

MSNBC

“I spent a lot of time trying to make sense of the posts,” she added. “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. But here’s what I do know: I generally do not believe I wrote those hateful things because they are completely alien to me, 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. I’ve not been exempt from being dumb or cruel or hurtful to the very people I want to advocate for. I own that. I get it. And for that I am truly, truly story.”

 


Earlier in the week, Reid was fairly confident she was the target of a smear campaign.

“In December I learned that an unknown, external party accessed and manipulated material from my now-defunct blog, The Reid Report, to include offensive and hateful references that are fabricated and run counter to my personal beliefs and ideology.”

The offending posts were originally discovered by a Twitter user using the Wayback Machine, which archives Web content with periodic screenshots. In one, Reid defended ex-NBA player Tim Hardaway saying “most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing.”

“Keeping it real… most straight men feel exactly the same way, and would have the exact same reaction to the idea of stripping naked in a sweaty locker room in close quarters with a gay teammate. Most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing… Most straight people had a hard time being convinced to watch ‘Broke Back Mountain.’ [sic] (I admit that I couldn’t go see the movie either, despite my sister’s ringing endorsement, because I didn’t want to watch the two male characters having sex.) Does that make me homophobic? Probably.”

Another post, from 2007, excused Marine General Peter Pace for condemning “homosexual acts” as “immoral.”

“Some people use the [word] ‘immoral’ when they really mean ‘distasteful.’ I think a lot of heterosexuals, especially men, find the idea of homosexual sex to be… well… gross, and they lump it in with immorality. And then there are the concerns that adult gay men tend to be attracted to very young, post-pubescent types, bringing them ‘into the lifestyle’ in a way that many people consider to be immoral.”

Other posts called Anderson Cooper “the gayest thing on TV” and described manipulating genes to ensure a baby is heterosexual an “interesting moral question.” In 2006 alone, the site featured a crude gay-sex joke about Orrin Hatch and then-unconfirmed Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

“Oh, look, Orrin Hatch is putting on his Supreme Court knee pads to save Alito,” the author wrote during Alito’s Senate hearing. “‘Golly, you’re really a swell guy. Can I be on top next time…?’ Jeez…”

A half hour later, the author wrote: “Would somebody please get Orrin Hatch some mouthwash and a $20 bill…? He’s got to be exhausted.”

The LGBT community was not the only target, though. One uncovered post right-wing claimed right-wing blogger Mark in Mexico made “a salient point” when he claimed Muslims would destroy civilization if they weren’t so poor. The article then quoted his blog.

“My feeling is that the only reason that a world war between civilizations has not already broken out is that the vast majority of Muslims living in the world today are so desperately poor that they have the time, energy and resources for only the occasional burst of AK-47 fire into the air from the garbage and sewage laden streets outside of their mud huts. Give them resources and I fear that they will come after us everywhere that they can find us, which is to say everywhere.”

Reid initially came under fire back in December when old articles resurfaced in which she made jokes about Republican Charlie Crist opposing marriage equality while being in the closet. In that instance, Reid acknowledged the content was hers and apologized for being “insensitive, tone deaf and dumb.”

The blog posts don’t exist in a vacuum: In tweets from 2010 and 2011, Reid referred to right-wing commentator Ann Coulter as “that Coulter dude” and last year, Reid suggested Chelsea Manning leaked thousands of classified documents simply because she was a troubled person “acting out.”

Reid’s supporters have pointed to other progressives who “evolved” on LGBT issues, including Hillary Clinton. But while Clinton’s policies and perspectives shifted, she never resorted to slurs or jokes.

 

In addition to her on-air apology, Reid welcomed frequent AM Joy guest Jonathan Capehart, who expressed his disappointment before praising her as “someone that stands by me personally, stands by me and my husband, stands by me and my community.”

“There’s a lot of people sitting out there watching that might be tuning in because it’s like the coliseum for them and they want to see you be eviscerated,” he added. “For those that are waiting for you to crumble and everyone to rain down condemnation on you: good luck with that. Change your hearts. Evolve, just like the rest of the country.”
 


Capehart is a fill-in host for Reid, though, presumably with a vested interest in enabling her rehabilitation. News of the articles prompted PFLAG to rescind an award it was going to give Reid next month.

“When we extended our invitation to Ms. Reid to honor her at our 45th anniversary celebration, we did so knowing about the blog posts from the late 2000s regarding Charlie Crist. We appreciated how she stepped up, took ownership, apologized for them, and did better—this is the behavior and approach we ask of any ally. However, in light of new information, and the ongoing investigation of that information, we must at this time rescind our award to Ms. Reid.”

It’s not clear whether her apology will reverse that decision.

Editor in Chief of NewNowNext. Comic book enthusiast. Bounder and cad.

@ItsDanAvery