So it turns out MSNBC host Joy Ann Reid wasn’t hacked after all.
Last December, dozens of inflammatory anti-LGBTQ posts from Reid’s old blog archives came to light, courtesy of some savvy Internet sleuthing by Twitter user Jamie_Maz.
Earlier this week, Reid came back and claimed the posts had been hacked. According to her statement to Mediaite, Reid didn’t deny these posts were on her now-defunct blog, The Reid Report — but she said they’d been doctored and added by an “unknown, external party.”
But now she’s walking back the statement. On her Saturday morning show AM Joy, Reid acknowledged the scandal while admitting there actually hadn’t been solid evidence of outside tampering.
“I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sense of these posts,” she said. “I hired cybersecurity experts to see if somebody had manipulated my words or my former blog. And the reality is they have not been able to prove it.”
Reid’s posts included a series of homophobic slurs lobbied at then-Florida Governor Charlie Crist, nicknaming him “Miss Charlie” and claiming he only married a woman for political reasons. She quickly issued an apology back in December — which Crist, now a congressman, accepted — and revisited that apology on the show Saturday, with an additional apology to Ann Coulter and the trans community for tweeting transphobic jokes about Coulter in 2010 and 2011.
“Here’s what I know: 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 have written in the past, why some people don’t believe me.”
As she said, some might find Reid’s apology a bit tough to process. Not because of what she’s written or said — regressive, anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is equal parts harmful and outdated, and those posts have been widely denounced for good reason.
But because Reid’s redemption narrative rings a bit false when there’s a history of doing and saying these things over and over and over, making unsubstantiated, crass claims about everyone from Anderson Cooper to George W. Bush to Oprah Winfrey for years. In contrast to this weekend’s apology, these uncovered blog posts could expose an evolution of thought — Reid’s character development, so to speak. But it’s understandable for more cynical readers to see this as proof of yet another public figure with toxic rhetoric shaping our modern day discourse, offering up an apology without the action to back it up.
On her show, Reid said she wanted this to be a learning opportunity: “I’d like to think I’ve gotten better as a person over time,” she said. “That I’m still growing…And I know that my goal is to try to be a better person and a better ally.”
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