MSNBC will apologize for an allegedly racist segment depicting a sombrero-wearing, tequila-guzzling Mexican on the morning of Cinco de Mayo, after the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists demanded the network make amends.
The offending clip aired Monday morning at 7 AM, just as MSNBC host Thomas Robert’s “Way Too Early” was wrapping up.
“And, it is Cinco de Mayo!” Roberts said, smiling as a sombrero-clad Louis Burgdorf slid in front of the camera drinking tequila. “The fifth of May, celebrating Mexican heritage and pride. And it commemorates the Mexican army over the French forces in the Battle of Puebla back in 1862.”
“It’s also an excuse to drink tequila on a Monday morning at work for Louis,” Roberts laughed, pointing to Burgdorf while he shook a maraca. “You have to drink the whole thing and eat the worm.”
But the harshest criticism came from Hugo Balta, the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
This is simply the worst example I have seen of a discriminatory stereotypical portrayal of any community by any media,” he wrote. “The fact that this was done by a news organization is abominable.”
He went on to note that this was “a planned segment” and said his organization “demands that the employees involved in the planning and production of this segment be disciplined and made to publicly apologize for their actions.”
And on Tuesday MSNBC caved. At noon, Balta updated his Facebook page to say he’d just spoken with Alex Korson, the executive producer for “Morning Joe” who also oversees “Way Too Early.”
Balta said he’d received an apology — although Korson allegedly claimed “the anchors took it upon themselves to put [the props] on and act in the manner they did” — and that the network would be reviewing “processes in place” to assure nothing like this will happen again.
Korson also promised that those involved in the segment will be “disciplined,” and that MSNBC will soon be making a public apology.
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