Former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry discussed her controversial firing in an appearance on ABC’s “The View” Monday morning, addressing questions about her open letter that left many believing racism was what led to her departure.
In her statement, which she said was intended to be an internal memo to her team, Harris-Perry wrote, “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.”
“The View” co-host Joy Behar read the former MSNBC host’s comments and asked, “Is the implication that there’s some racism in there?”
According to Harris-Perry, she was not accusing MSNBC of firing her over the color of her skin but was instead using “shorthand” to communicate with her staff.
“I’m an African-American politics scholar,” Harris-Perry told Behar. “When I say ‘mammy,’ I mean something very particular. The history of mammy is that mammy is the black woman who cares more about the master’s family than about her own.”
Though she did not feel marginalized for being black, Harris-Perry did argue that the ending of her show does have “racial implications” because she hosted the most diverse panel in cable news.
“It’s just an empirical reality,” Harris-Perry insisted. “Taking this show off the air — even if you put me individually back on as a host — meant that the folks who sat at our table, whether they were transgender, women of color, Latino Republicans, they just weren’t going to be there anymore.”
“We were the folks that put them on the air each and every week,” she added.
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