MSNBC apologizes for Cheerios tweet hitting 'right wing'
January 30th, 2014
12:36 PM ET
6 months ago

MSNBC apologizes for Cheerios tweet hitting 'right wing'

Updated 4:39 p.m. ET, 1/30/2014

(CNN) –  MSNBC President Phil Griffin apologized Thursday for what he called an "offensive" network tweet, which suggested that conservatives may “hate” a Cheerios Super Bowl ad featuring a racially mixed family.

Griffin said the person responsible for the tweet was fired.

"The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable,” Griffin said in a written statement. “We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet.”

The original tweet, which was posted Wednesday night, said: "Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family.” The tweet included a link to an article about the commercial.

msnbc ad

Screen grab courtesy of the RNC

Griffin’s apology came after Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced Thursday morning he was banning his staff and RNC surrogates from appearing on MSNBC until the network's president personally apologized.

“I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended,” Griffin said.

RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said Priebus accepted the apology.

“We appreciate Mr. Griffin’s admission that their comment was demeaning and disgusting, and the Chairman accepted his apology,” Spicer said. “We will aggressively monitor the network to see whether their pattern of unacceptable behavior actually changes.”

The main MSNBC Twitter account also posted an apology Wednesday and said in another tweet, “We deeply regret it.”

"We can have our political disagreements with MSNBC," Priebus said in an email blast earlier Thursday. "But using biracial families to launch petty and ridiculous political attacks is low, even by MSNBC's standards. It only coarsens our political discourse. This is more than just a tweet or an offhand comment. This is part of a pattern of behavior that has gotten markedly worse."

The Cheerios commercial features the same biracial family that appeared in an ad for the cereal brand last year. The ad sparked controversy after highlighting a family with a white mother and a black father.Priebus also noted a string of other controversies MSNBC has faced for criticizing Republicans.

In his complaint to MSNBC, Priebus referenced Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir, who were both let go from the network after they made offensive comments about homosexuals and Sarah Palin, respectively.

Melissa Harris-Perry, host of a weekend show, also apologized this month after a panel on her program made jokes involving Mitt Romney's adopted black grandchild.

CNN Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter contributed to this report.


Filed under: MSNBC • RNC
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Why apologize? It was freekin true. Cheerios literally had to shut down comments on the YouTube site because of all the right wingers making racist comments under the video.

    January 30, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    The Cheerios commercial features the same biracial family that appeared in an ad for the cereal brand last year. The ad sparked controversy after highlighting a family with a white mother and a black father.
    --------------------------------------
    Controversy? The ad didn't spark a controversy. It ignited some sort of racially driven, moral debate. There were many who made offensive remarks over the commercial. When they were cited for their remarks, the people simply doubled down and defended them.

    January 30, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    MSNBC's ratings are bottom of the barrel – their viewship is comprised of hard-left partisan idealogues. You would think they'd be able to put 1 and 1 together and come to the conclusion that instead of preaching to their choir, they'd reach out to moderates in an effort to bolster their ranks. Nope... they're either too stupid or too pig-headed. Enjoy irrelevance, MSNBC.

    January 30, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. smith

    More racist comments from MSNBC. This has become the liberal mantra, "If you don`t agree with our liberal veiws you are racist"

    January 30, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Pat

    First off the comment was out of line but they apologized so I consider it done.

    However for those saying "well the right wing posted racist stuff last time" I would point out a significant number of the posts on that first ad were from African American women attacking the couple because the white woman "stole" one of their men.

    So there are idiots on both sides of the political fence.

    January 30, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Daniel

    It wasn't liberals making the racist comment about the commercial. So while it wasn't the classy way to make a jab, it was more factually correct then the RNC would like to admit.

    Also, I don't think it matters too much to MSNBC if Republicans don't want to show up. Please.....the so called liberals on Faux Newts are all fake puppets for the most part.

    January 30, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. ChrisM

    The Tweet was true. Did you not see the rwnjs degrading the Cheerios commercial because of the racial diverse family featured in it.

    So Yea, that is EXACTLY what the rwnjs do !!!

    January 30, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. O'drama ya Mama

    Fair is Fair

    MSNBC's ratings are bottom of the barrel – their viewship is comprised of hard-left partisan idealogues. You would think they'd be able to put 1 and 1 together and come to the conclusion that instead of preaching to their choir, they'd reach out to moderates in an effort to bolster their ranks. Nope... they're either too stupid or too pig-headed. Enjoy irrelevance, MSNBC.
    January 30, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    You would think that Fox would do the same. Oh wait aren't they already "fair and balanced"? Whats funny to me is that Republicans think they are losing elections and such because they arent conservative enough. You would think that to gain the votes of moderates a party would have to move closer to the center but somehow the Republicans expect that result by becoming even more extreme.

    January 30, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    MSNBC needs to grow an elephant size pair!
    As soon as I saw the commercial I knew somebody (mainly those so called christians and teaklans) would see it as something "bad".
    The oxycodone fat radio boy, beck, insanity and anybody and everybody on the right say worse and it's okay.
    Unbelievable!!!

    January 30, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. just asking

    msnbc is showing itself as nothing but a collection of race driven leftist imbeciles. they are so far left even the communists won't associate with them.

    January 30, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Pat

    First off the comment was out of line but they apologized so I consider it done.

    However for those saying "well the right wing posted racist stuff last time" I would point out a significant number of the posts on that first ad were from African American women attacking the couple because the white woman "stole" one of their men.
    --------------------------------
    How do you know that they were African-American women? Because they said so, because you assumed so, or because you actually don't really know? It doesn't sound like something African American women would do in large numbers to me. Twitter sounds more like it to me. It doesn't matter. Racist remarks are ugly no matter who makes them.

    January 30, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Who Cares

    I saw it online last night and the little girl is cute. I like cheerios and just realized it is a biracial family from reading this article. There is also a cute puppy with the Clydesdales Super Bowl ad. I am at the live and let live stage of my life. Why on earth does anyone care who people marry or care about for that matter. Have a great weekend everyone and Go Broncos.

    January 30, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Greybeard

    This is just like the GOP saying if you don't agree with us then you're a Communist.

    January 30, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Wake up People!

    Is this the same commercial that I heard so much about last year?? It's 2014 people, it's time everyone got over it. We are all human beings, we all bleed red, and no one is more superior than the next simply because you are melanin deficient.

    January 30, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. duke

    Offensive and unprofessional – Yes

    At the same time for some parts of their party – Absolutely True.

    Time to raise the tone for averybody – Obviously

    January 30, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Harold Read

    Lol! MSNBC is still relevant?

    January 30, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "... ... You would think that to gain the votes of moderates a party would have to move closer to the center but somehow the Republicans expect that result by becoming even more extreme."
    ------------------------–
    You would think, but that goes completely against conservatism. It would mean compromising on their principles, which would mean change. It's sort of like the high school prom. Who's going out to dance first? All of the watchers back closer and closer to the wall.

    Another problem conservatives have is with their messaging. As I've heard Micheal Steele so often say something like, "Our message is getting out. The problem is that people are just not listening to it. We need to do a better job of getting our message out. Make it more interesting."

    January 30, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Donna

    O'drama ya Mama
    You would think that Fox would do the same. Oh wait aren't they already "fair and balanced"?
    ---

    Why would the NUMBER ONE news network emulate the failed business aproach of the NUMBER 968th news network? Just more proff that liberals and lefties don't understand business and especially numbers.

    January 30, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Responding to the tweet, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blasted out an email Thursday morning saying he was banning his staff and RNC surrogates from appearing on MSNBC until the network's president, Phil Griffin, personally apologizes.
    ------------------–
    TRANSLATION: "I'm mad at you. I'm not speaking to you ever again, not until you give me what I want."

    If you want to know some of the reasons why the two sides don't talk to the other, then this is a perfect snapshot of it. Republicans have made lots of demands [defund Obamacare] of Democrats over the years that have gone unfulfilled.

    January 30, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Steve, New York City

    The discourse on both sides is incredibly poor. This tweet was quite unnecessary . .but so are comments, actions and disrespectful comments from the right . . .like that idiot congressman from Colorado who had referred to Obama as a tar baby. Is that for real? What about Rep. Wilson who yelled "You Lie" during a previous Obama state of the union address. Would Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter have ever been treated with such shocking disrespect? Therefore, the far left and the far right need to do a much better job of muzzling their idiots.

    January 30, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Are you kidding me?

    Does the RNC apologize for their hateful actions or comments???? No! They celebrate them. Talk about thin skin!

    January 30, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Goblin King

    What's the matter MSNBC, are there no infants to smear with your hate speech?

    January 30, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Fair is Fair

    O'drama ya Mama

    Fair is Fair

    MSNBC's ratings are bottom of the barrel – their viewship is comprised of hard-left partisan idealogues. You would think they'd be able to put 1 and 1 together and come to the conclusion that instead of preaching to their choir, they'd reach out to moderates in an effort to bolster their ranks. Nope... they're either too stupid or too pig-headed. Enjoy irrelevance, MSNBC.
    January 30, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    You would think that Fox would do the same. Oh wait aren't they already "fair and balanced"? Whats funny to me is that Republicans think they are losing elections and such because they arent conservative enough. You would think that to gain the votes of moderates a party would have to move closer to the center but somehow the Republicans expect that result by becoming even more extreme.
    ---------
    I'd venture to say that there's a lot of moderates and even some liberals watching Fox. There's no other way to explain the numbers they bring in. They have hard news at 6:00 whereas from 5 PM on MSNBC has nothing but opinion, and all from the left (Matthews, Sharpton, Hayes, Schultz, and Maddow). At least Fox has dissenting viewpoints from the likes of Alan Colmes, James Carville, Kirsten Powers, Juan Williams... etc, etc. The results speak for themselves. I've watched both, and there's no comparison.

    January 30, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Joe Biden

    So once again MSNBC gets caught spouting hate speech. Keep doing what you're doing MSNBC and slide further into the cesspool.

    January 30, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    MSNBC nailed the Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts again. They DO hate that ad and they freaked out after it was aired.

    January 30, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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