Melissa Harris-Perry And MSNBC Panel In Hot Water For Joking About Mitt Romney’s Black Grandson

December 31, 2013  |  

So, this happened.

On Sunday’s episode of Melissa Harris-Perry’s self-titled show on MSNBC, Perry and a panel of comedians and other entertainers came together to have a quick laugh about the year 2013. They did so through various photographs from this year by adding captions to them, something we, and many other sites like to do with funny photos. But when a photo of Mitt Romney and all his grandkids, including his black grandson Keiran, was posted and jokes were made about the baby, people weren’t happy about it (and you know Republicans especially weren’t feeling it). Keiran, whose name ironically means “black” in Gaelic, was adopted by Romney’s son Ben and his wife Andelynne and became a member of the family in September.

When the photo was put up, things started off light with Perry saying, “Everybody loves a baby picture, and this was one that really, a lot of people had emotions about this baby picture this year. This is the Romney family. And, of course, there on Governor Romney’s knee is his adopted grandson, who is an African-American, adopted African-American child, Kieran Romney.”

From there, the jokes came with panelist Pia Glenn singing, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same.” She joked after her song that “that little baby, front and center, would be the one.”

Perry tried to get in on the jokes, saying, “And isn’t he the most gorgeous? My goal is that in 2040, the biggest thing of the year will be the wedding between Kieran Romney and North West. Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?”

Comedian Dean Obeidallah even joked that Kieran would finally bring some color to the Republican Party: “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.”

Of course, the anger and calls for apologies came quickly, with folks at Fox News asking how Perry still had a job at MSNBC, and your main man Don Lemon even going in on her and the panel on CNN. Perry apologized for her own statements, and the panels’ comments this morning:

I get it. It’s all a little too crass, and considering Ben and Andelynne provided Kieran with the home (and most likely the love) he needed that others couldn’t, they should be applauded instead of mocked. And their baby definitely shouldn’t be a punchline. But the sense of outrage I kept reading about didn’t run through my veins. (I think I just have a disdain for Mitt Romney that can cloud my better judgment, and I was a bit critical of him having the baby front and center on his lap in the picture.) If you watch the clip, it all doesn’t come off that bad, well, at least Perry’s commentary. However, I know that if the tables were turned and it was a panel on Fox News making such jokes about a black politician and his family adopting a white baby, I would feel some type of way. Therefore, I can agree that Perry and crew needed to apologize because there’s nothing okay about making a joke out of a child. What about you?

Check out the video for yourself and let us know what you think.


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  • shortyp10

    No need for apology, and I question his motive regarding adoption also. Seem capable of saying and doing anything to win/get elected. I don’t put nothing past him and others like him!

  • Stefanie

    why is it ok for the repubs to talk about the Obama girls?

  • enlightenment

    I find it extremely hilarious that white Repubbies call Blacks too sensitive when they joke about us. But suddenly get their panties in a bunch when we light-heartedly joke about them.

    This is just a ruse to get Melissa Harris Perry off the air. They were waiting for her to say something out of line. She didn’t cross that line yet, but of course they’re making this look much worse than it actually is and trying to get her fired.

  • Tamira Bennett Volk

    Im not a racist I have a black grandson! # yeah right

    • guest

      Mitt didn’t adopt him, his son and wife did which makes your comment pointless and asinine. Sounds like you are the racist one.

      • Tamira Bennett Volk

        That is my opinion. And Im entitled to it. And I am not racist. I can call it like I see it. And that broadcaster was on point with everything she said. So who’s asinine?

  • Jaye

    Children are off limit from any kind of political jokes. She crossed the line. Has nothing to do with politics. MSNBC is a joke anyway. All cable news it.

  • J Mc

    who hastags their apology?

  • Ladybug94

    Making jokes about a child. Now I care for MHP even less. She is like a ghetto newsanchor.

  • FromUR2UB

    Is that all?? No one said anything even close to the kinds of comments we could have expected to hear from the right, if it were a democrat who had adopted a black baby. They are so full of…shenanigans!!

  • Bren

    It wasn’t nice for Melissa and her colleagues to joke about a baby, of all people! Let the child grow up for Christ’s sake instead of making him feel different.

  • Calm down

    I still like Melissa and the hype over this is too much. Some of the other people on the panel said more than she did, but at the end it is her show and of course she will get the blame. That segment should not have been in the show and should have been discussed behind the scenes. Just a lesson to always remember that your audience is not just the people who understand where you are coming from.

    • mumsy64

      Just remember that when you’re sitting in front of cameras your audience isn’t just the people in the room, so keep your racism, and hate, under cover.

  • John O’Keefe

    The Gaelic word for black is “dubh” (pronounced ‘dove’) – i am not a big Romney fan, but they did not name the child “black” – and if they think ‘kieran’ is Gaelic for black, they are dumber than i thought 🙂

  • TheMsmother

    So what?? He is the cutest..and??

  • provokethought

    Looks like all of them Black folk got way too comfotable in front of those cameras. The production set is not equivalent to the “dinner table.”

    • REALLYNOW???

      Another ignorant statement!!! hahaha lol

  • Fair and Balanced

    Why do people continuously apologize when they meant what they said? Stop apologizing you said it stand by it. By the way there are many Black republicans.

  • TheAudacityOfDope

    While I understand and respect MHP wanting to apologize I can’t help but feel a certain type of way knowing that NO ONE at FOX ever apologizes for the crass, racist, false statements and claims they make on a daily basis. At the end of the day I guess this speaks volumes about the sincerity of the modern liberal movement in that we hold ourselves to the same standard that we often judge our right wing counterparts by.

    • Beverly

      She looks STUPID with those braids!

      • Guest

        What’s the point of commenting on her looks when this article has absolutely nothing to do with that?

      • REALLYNOW???

        Really now???? lol that’s all you have to talk about? HER BRAIDS!!! hahaha

      • enlightenment

        I think she looks gorgeous with her braids.

  • guest

    There are a lot of sympathetic comments here…

    1. If this was a republican saying these things about a democrat family who adopted a black kid, most of u would be quick to call them racist, so why defend this woman? Cause shes black and a democrat?

    2. There is no way this woman should be fired. So sick of this pc crap. Is this what we want free speech to be? Say the wrong thing and you are black balled from business. People are so quick to try and get someone fired. If you dont like this woman, dont watch the show.

    • mumsy64

      That was the most intelligent comment I’ve seen yet on here.
      1. Call it what it is, she made a racist comment, her sidekicks went even further.
      2. It was an idiot moment, hardly calls for ruining her life, Definitely doesn’t even call for her to be fired, but do call her on it, as she has been, but pretty much only by conservatives.

  • hollyw

    Gooottd@mn! I just searched her on Wikipedia (I check everything on Wikipedia), and they ALREADY have the controversy on her bio page!?! That was fast lol… good grief, just let this one go…

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    Well they aren’t exactly lying. Having a black grandchild puts his family in a more sympathetic view and screams, you can’t call us racist or ignorant to blackk causes cause we have a black family member. Kudos to the parents for his adoption, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the political ramifications weren’t discussed before hand either . . .

    • sunny

      Yes you still can call them racist and ignorant, especially if this child doesn’t learn how to adapt and fit in with his own culture!

      • Fair and Balanced

        His mother is Black.

      • mumsy64

        His culture will be the American culture. Are you telling me that Barack O’bama, raised briefly by his white mother and Asian stepfather, but primarily by his white grandparents, who attended one of the most exclusive private high schools in the nation and then went to Harvard doesn’t know who he is?

  • Clark Toni

    Wow to each its own but how many black families adopt white children. I still feel as though when whites adopt black children something is lacking, I still say there is a difference it used to be a time whites adopted Native American Children they no longer can. I hope that happen for us, I wish more of us was in the position to adopt our own children.

    • sunny

      They do not teach them Black heritage!!!! White people do not take our history as seriously as we take our history and making sure our children understand our history and not the history White America would like us to accept.

      • Trisha_B

        There are black kids raised in black homes that don’t know their heritage. Some black people don’t even take their own history as serious.

    • Fair and Balanced

      Unfortunately if that does happen there will be many little ones of color growing up entirely in foster homes if they can be put into one. I would like to see them all adopted as long as they are loved and brought up to be decent honorable human beings dedicated to Jesus.

    • mumsy64

      So your preference for African-American children is that they remain in foster homes, bounced around, rather than adopted into loving adoptive homes. Interesting. As for black families adopting out of foster care they are offered the exact same incentives as the white families that do. Which is a waving of the adoption fees in most states, able to keep medicaid and even social security for the child if there is any disabilities and so on. The only thing keeping working and middle class black families from formal adoption is their own social taboos against it.
      In an interesting twist on this, I have only known two black families that adopted and I used to live in a different part of the country where there were a lot of black families in our neighborhood. The one family adopted two white boys out of foster care, they had been their foster parents. The other family adopted the half white/half black child of their former foster daughter, both adoptive parents were former police officers and as part of the adoption they had to move away from the city that they had always lived in. Something about the biological dads criminal background. But the fact is, they adopted, nothing stopping you from doing the same.

  • hollyw

    What?? Apologize?? For what?! Everything they said was true!!!

    Fyi, I actually did imagine what It’d be like if a FOX panel joked on a Black political family w/ a white baby, and for one, we all know that the jokes would naturally be racist and be about Black people, and two, this scenario would never even occur b/c IT DOESN’T HAPPEN.

    This some bullsh*t. She should’ve never apologized, and held her ground and said the joke was all on the Romney family, NOT the baby or adoptions. Now, this is gonna blow up in her face, they gone be crying for her to get fired, and the only Black person on air will be Don Lemon…so basically, no one lol…j/k. He’ll prob be the main one picketing tho!

    • Naja Hamilton

      Thank you @ hollyw, people need to stop the madness, Mitt and his family own and vacation at a place named NI@@ER HEAD and people wanna blow up over a factually applicable song directed toward these disingenuous posers?!?! Please, when you’ve nothing on a person with media value, power and intellect, you’ll seek to exploit anything. We see through the bull$hit, it’s a nice try though.

      • lavendarbloom

        so true

      • phyllis

        I think it was Rick Perry who had that poorly named property, not Mitt Romney.

  • Mimi

    Personally, I find it in poor taste and mean spirited to attack anyone’s child in the media, black, white, blue. Adopted, fostered or naturally born to a family. A child is a child. Just because she can relate does not give her a pass to attack!

    • hollyw

      I get why the family would be offended, bc no one likes to be the butt of a joke… but for folks to call for her to be fired is ludicrous, as nothing she said was actually was racist or untrue. Most white people (and Don Lemon) still do not know the actual definition of racism…

      Honestly, I hope she addresses it again, bc she good for writing open letters that read folks lol… I understand she didn’t want to ‘qualify’ her apology since that diminishes it, but for hee job’s sake, I feel she need to, to make it clear exactly what she was apologizing for!

  • coolyfett

    Im never mad when rich white people adopt black children….just a long as they pass those assets on. More affluent blacks is never a bad in my view.

    • hollyw

      It is extremely rare for any rich family, let alone a white one, to adopt, but I get your point lol… It’s usually middle -class whites who don’t pass nothing on but some ignorant stereotypes. It’s great they providing a home, but 9x out of 10, they scoring reeeal low on the cultural competence scale…ijs.

    • Alexis Morris

      they are more like affluent whites with black skin. those kids often grow up without a firm grasp on being Africa n American

      • coolyfett

        Thats not my concern. Im just a fan of black people HAVING wealth. I dont care what they have a firm grasp on. Money is POWER and want us blacks to have more of it…peace.

        • Alexis Morris

          and if they don’t identify or accept their blackness how is that helpful to the black race? they will most likely marry white people who woulhave children marry white people until their blackness is basically wiped out. this isn’t a plus. if the black children aren’t raised to accept their race and culture that’s not us gaining power in fact it’s a calculated means of control

          • coolyfett


          • Bren

            How do we know at this point what they will teach the child?

            • Alexis Morris

              Im not sure about the younger Romney, but old grandpa will probably have plenty of stories to tell about the babie’s people abusing welfare and piggy backing off of the affluent whites of america, not to say the child wont be loved…

          • Ladybug94

            Blacks are marrying whites anyway so that has nothing to do with who’s adopting who. Black children need good homes in the worst way and if someone white is willing to provide that rather than focusing on buying a new car or the latest Jordan’s every year, I’m all for it.

            • Alexis Morris

              is that what you assume would happen in a black family? whites can do that too, throwing sneakers, etc at kids, there’s always some upper class whites waiting in the jordans line in the mall too. There are black families that exist on education, morality, self assurance, and not jut materialistic things

  • sha

    She should not have been made to feel to apologize. I have heard worse about the leader of the free world and no one really cares enough to correct those people. It was a joke that was actually funny. Unless there were others things said that were left out of this article there should be no issue. And really why an African-American baby? Uuuggh-WTFE!

    • Bren

      Because they need homes too! Unfortunately many black people would rather pass judgement as opposed to jump on the adoption bandwagon. Hypocrites.

  • thatonegirl

    But she was speaking from experience I saw nothing wrong. She’s been in Kiern’s shoes before. I saw nothing wrong with what she said.

  • guest

    Melissa and her crew at MSNBC have been a mistake waiting to happen for a while. Like Phil from Duck Dynasty but if Mitt Romney was a democrat he would be president. Right message wrong party.

    • sunny

      Mitt Romney would be President if he could have EXPLAINED his plan and been able to adapt to all his voters and their needs!!!!!

      Not knowing what he planned to do as the only reason he didn’t get my VOTE!

    • Andrea Evans

      That is bull. They adopted a black baby because it was easier no red tape no issues… I have no sympathy for this family at all. Melissa should be able to joke about what she wants, if that Blonde ding bat can say Jesus is WHITE, then Melissa should be able to say what the hell she wants. Guest can kick rocks

      • Ladybug94

        For someone like Mitt Romney’s son and background, there would be no red tape. MHP is supposed to be a respected journalist but she’s always on camera acting ghetto. No one has the right to completely say what they want and if you are a person in the limelight, your words should be chosen cautiously not as that of a junior high student.

        • Andrea Evans

          Acting Ghetto? Her show is great but I’m iof the thought she owes no one an apology! We have been apologizing way to long. Is rush apologizing. Did Megan Kelly apologize for being an idiot? No and because these individuals feel as if this superiority is their right, and we ,blacks should be grateful nope I should be thankful only to G O D! If you ever get a chance ms ladybug go read her sister citizen you might understand what I’m saying

        • Caydence James

          Wow, now that’s a new one. I’ve never seen Melissa Perry ever wave the ign’ant flag nor have I ever heard anyone accuse her of it.

          Who’s next? Soledad?

      • guest

        You are an idiot. So without knowing them or their motivation, like maybe wanting a child regardless of color, you throw your own assumptions as though they are truth?. Would it be better if the child stayed in the orphanage? She can say what she wants, but that comes with a price that she is finding out. So you kick rocks!

        • Andrea Evans

          I don’t have to kick anything. I have right to feel and say what I want so does she. Oh please feel free to call me whatever makes you feel better

    • Marie Bano

      The joke was not about the child, the joke was about how the GOP are always looking for that one token black. When Republicans start getting true racist like Fox news, Rush Limbaugh, birthers, the tea party and Duck dynasty to apologise, I would take this issue more seriously.

      • Caydence James

        Bravooooo!!! Well said!!!

    • Caydence James

      Uhm “Guest” I’m going to need you to go back to your own site because you’re clearly lost. Fox has their own website!
      Thank you.