Joy Reid, the popular host of MSNBC’s weekend show AM Joy, has recently been under fire.
Newly uncovered blog posts published on her now-defunct blog, the Reid Report, took a mocking tone toward people in the LGBTQ community in the mid-to-late 2000s. The comments do not bear repeating, so we won’t repeat them; suffice it to say, they required a sincere apology.
Her first reaction upon seeing the old posts was that her blog had been hacked and defaced, a suspicion that seems natural after all that’s taken place since 2016. This could not be proven, however, so she retracted the claim, responsibly admitting that she doesn’t really know what happened. She may have said those things.
So Joy unreservedly made the apology. She explained that she grew up in a household that had conservative views on the LGBTQ community. A lot of us did. This does not excuse hurtful speech, but it identifies an individual’s upbringing as its point of origin.
She also hosted a panel with LGBTQ activists about the blog posts and took accountability for them face to face. And she apologized for newly resurfaced tweets in which she made transphobic remarks that suggested conservative pundit Ann Coulter is a man.
People of all ages are products of their environment. We are influenced by the times in which we grow up. The whole country has evolved regarding LGBTQ issues.
Even Barack Obama evolved on the issue, going from supporting only Civil Unions in his early years to fully support same-sex marriage, and sending his Department of Justice in to help convince the Supreme Court to rule so.
Five years ago gay marriage was still a long way off, and issues like bathrooms for transgender persons hadn’t fully made it onto the American radar. The general attitudes of society towards these people and their needs was negative for a long time. The state of affairs was a travesty, but it was also the way things were.
Fortunately for everyone, that is changing more and more every year. People have at least started down the road to knowing better these days, and that clearly includes Joy Reid.
She’s a strong leader, one of the left’s most powerful and recognizable voices. She has used that voice to help people. No way are we going to throw her under the bus over nasty remarks made years ago. We’ll stick up for those who have stuck up for us. We still remember what was done to Al Franken.
The point to emphasize is that she has recognized her past comments as being insensitive and she has made clear that is not how she feels today.
Millennial Democrats have been fortunate enough to grow up in a world where these sorts of issues are being worked on and improved. Things were very different for our parents and teachers in older generations of Americans, and that becomes truer the further back you go.
In 2016, when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Barack Obama spoke these words, hours after the high court’s decision was announced.
These kinds of things are going to come out over time, and we have to make sure that we don’t let the enemy split the left or pick off our leaders using them. We are all in this together, and we are going to make mistakes sometimes. Joy’s apology makes the point very well.
“I have not been exempt from being dumb or cruel or hurtful to the very people I want to advocate for,” she said on Saturday. “I own that. For that, I am truly, truly sorry.”
“I’m hoping, out of all of this, there’s an opportunity to talk about the ways in which hurtful speech really does imperil marginalized communities,” Reid said.
We’ll be heading forward in that direction.