Melissa Harris-Perry Refuses to Go on Her MSNBC Show Following Pre-Emptions 

Melissa Harris-Perry has voiced disappointment in the recent handling of her show, which she said was taken away “without comment, or discussion or notice,” adding that the act was a “betrayal.”

Melissa Harris-Perry in 2015
Melissa Harris-Perry in 2015 Larry French/Getty Images

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry has confirmed that she will not be appearing on the self-titled show she hosts this Saturday after several weeks of pre-emptions and what she says is a loss of editorial control, the New York Times reports

The Times reports that it obtained an email that was sent out this week to individuals Harris-Perry works with that details Harris-Perry’s feeling that the show had basically been taken away from her and that she felt “worthless” in the eyes of NBC News executives. 

“Here is the reality: Our show was taken—without comment or discussion or notice—in the midst of an election season,” she wrote, according to the news site. “After four years of building an audience, developing a brand and developing trust with our viewers, we were effectively and utterly silenced.”

In further conversations with the Times, Harris-Perry said that she has received no notice on whether her show has been canceled, expressing frustration at the pre-emptions she faced amid an election year. She added that she had not been on the network “for weeks” and she was basically sidelined for recent election coverage in South Carolina and New Hampshire. 

“I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” she wrote in the email, according to the Times, expressing frustration with NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack and MSNBC President Phil Griffin. “I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobblehead. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.” (Read the entire email Harris-Perry sent to staff here.)

In a statement to the Times, an NBC News spokesperson said: “In this exciting and unpredictable presidential primary season, many of our daytime programs have been temporarily upended by breaking political coverage, including MHP. This reaction is really surprising, confusing and disappointing.” 

However, Harris-Perry said she thinks the change, and not being able to talk to her viewers, is a sort of “betrayal.” 

“It is perfectly fine, 100 percent reasonable and perfectly acceptable for MSNBC to decide they no longer want the MHP show,” she told the Times. “But they should say that, they should cancel the show, they should stand up. And maybe it would be rewarded with huge ratings, but they shouldn’t kill us by attrition and take us off the air without telling anybody, including us. That, for me, is what’s painful and difficult.”

Read more at the New York Times

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