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Melissa Harris-Perry apologizes to Mitt Romney for jokes about his black grandson

Melissa Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry

MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry apologized on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 for insensitive comments made about Mitt Romney’s family photo posted on Twitter. The photo features former Republican presidential nominee with his grandkids, including Kieran James Romney, who’s adopted and the only black person in the photo.

Pia Glenn, one of the panelists on Harris’ show last Sunday, sang, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same” when Kieran’s photo came on air. Comedian Dean Obeidallah added, “I think this picture is great. It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party, the RNC. At the convention, they find the one black person.”

Romney 2013 Christmas photo

Romney 2013 Christmas photo

A biracial Harris-Perry added fuel to the flames by wondering aloud what it would look like if Kieran married North West, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter.

Speaking directly into the camera, she offers:

“Whatever the intent was, the reality is that the segment proceeded in a way that was offensive, and showing the photo in that context, that segment, was poor judgment. So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family.”

Holding back tears, she added that the families of public figures, “especially their children, should not be treated callously or thoughtlessly. My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off-limits and for that I am sorry. Also, allow me to apologize to other families formed through transracial adoption because I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule.”

 

In September 2013, Mitt Romney tweeted, “Our 22nd grandchild was officially adopted today: Kieran James Romney.” He was adopted by Romney’s second youngest son Ben and his wife Andelynne.

In September 2013, Mitt Romney tweeted, “Our 22nd grandchild was officially adopted today: Kieran James Romney.” He was adopted by Romney’s second youngest son Ben and his wife Andelynne.

“On this program we are dedicated to advocating for a wide diversity of families. It is one of our core principles and I am reminded when we do so, it must be with the utmost respect. We’re genuinely appreciative of everyone who offered serious criticisms of last Sunday’s program, and I am reminded that our fiercest critics can sometimes be our best teachers,” she said.

Harris-Perry’s father is black and her mother is white and Mormon.