A lot of prominent men in media have been getting themselves fired lately. In the case of MSNBC’s Sam Seder, however, it was a mistake. The network has now admitted as much, and reversed the decision, according to The Intercept. The initial firing was instigated by Pizzagate conspiracy theorist and noted rape apologist Mike Cernovich, who waged a bad faith smear campaign against Seder. Cernovich pointed to a 2009 Seder tweet mocking Hollywood’s many Roman Polanski defenders.
“Don’t care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/a great sense of mise en scene,” read Seder’s tweet. Removed from context, the coarsely worded tweet might seem like something MSNBC wouldn’t want looming in one of its contributors’ backgrounds–despite the fact that Seder comes from a comedic background and clearly was being deadpan ironic. Cernovich mobilized his large following to intentionally misinterpret the since-deleted tweet, and express profound moral distress over it. The network caved to the outraged horde’s demands, and cut ties with Seder as of Monday.
After an intense wave of feedback putting both the tweet and the coordinated outrage in context, MSNBC has since reconsidered, and welcomed Seder back to its airwaves. Part of the credit goes to Vic Berger, a popular online comedian who was previously the victim of a Cernovich smear campaign last year. Considering the frequency and malicious intention of Cernovich’s online crusades, perhaps MSNBC’s reversal will force Twitter to consider preventing him from conducting them in the future.