Ira Madison, a culture writer for MTV News, hurried to delete a tweet early Tuesday afternoon when he faced intense backlash for joking that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the nominee for attorney general, kidnapped an Asian child from Toys "R" Us to use as a prop during his Senate confirmation hearing.
"Sessions, sir, kindly return this Asian baby to the Toys 'R' Us you stole her from," Madison wrote in the since-deleted tweet.
MTV News writer @ira has deleted this tweet after being fiercely criticized online https://t.co/j1aGs5ttDz https://t.co/vAhd1EoXUw— Oliver Darcy (@Oliver Darcy) 1484066082.0
The child, whom Madison apparently accused Sessions of using for political purposes, is the senator's biological granddaughter. Several members of Sessions' family were present at the start of the hearing Tuesday morning.
The MTV reporter's tweet was immediately condemned online by several fellow journalists. CNBC anchor John Harwood called the comment "disgusting" and Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza said Madison should "never tweet."
From there, more rebukes poured in:
Hi. You’re a scumbag, Ira. https://t.co/9dljtrhqlo— Ben Howe (@Ben Howe) 1484062281.0
JFC that's his OWN GRANDDAUGHTER you're referring to, you useless smug social media controversialist. https://t.co/PpCyDtRV2D— Jeff B, fightin' the COVID one bootleg at a time (@Jeff B, fightin' the COVID one bootleg at a time) 1484062890.0
This is why you leave kids/grandkids out of political fights. No matter what side you're on it makes you look like… https://t.co/CXUOatvN9I— Rick Wilson (@Rick Wilson) 1484063444.0
This is beyond disgusting. I am deeply insulted by this. @MTVNews do you stand by these attacks on grand children? https://t.co/OzFFDNobad— Meghan McCain (@Meghan McCain) 1484066081.0
@ira Seek help, asshole.— Stephen Gutowski (@Stephen Gutowski) 1484064675.0
Despite the widespread criticism, Madison stood by his comment, arguing that Sessions had "no reason" to allow his own granddaughter to sit on his lap other than for political expediency.
He ultimately offered a non-apology apology, tweeting that he decided to delete the comment because people were seeing his attack on Sessions' granddaughter as an attack on his granddaughter.
This is not the first time Madison has found himself in hot water for comments he's made on Twitter. Last March, the culture writer suggested in a tweet that retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson would work as a slave in a Donald Trump White House.
According to Mediaite, MTV News responded to the controversy Tuesday, saying, "The opinions Ira expresses on Twitter are his own and do not reflect the views of MTV News."