After screenshots of blog posts by Joy Reid surfaced last week, everyone, including me, shot the MSNBC host a healthy dose of side-eye when she explained away homophobic statements from as far back as 2006 by saying that her old blog was hacked.
As far as excuses go, “I was hacked” trails only “He’s like a brother to me” and “I feared for my life” in the pantheon of things people say when they get caught doing stupid shit. Although I use the excuse often to explain why I’ve gained 7 pounds in the last year (seriously, though, my metabolism was actually hacked by a combination of refined carbohydrates, a back injury and me saying, “Can I get fries with that?”), many people doubted the veracity of Reid’s statement when she responded to the accusations with a statement to Mediaite.
According to Reid, in December, she learned that someone had manipulated her blog, the Reid Report, to include homophobic remarks. Reid said the remarks run counter to her “personal beliefs and ideology,” and added:
I began working with a cybersecurity expert who first identified the unauthorized activity, and we notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach. The manipulated material seems to be part of an effort to taint my character with false information by distorting a blog that ended a decade ago.
Now that the site has been compromised, I can state unequivocally that it does not represent the original entries. I hope that whoever corrupted the site recognizes the pain they have caused, not just to me, but to my family and communities that I care deeply about: LGBTQ, immigrants, people of color and other marginalized groups.
Reid allegedly wrote that “most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing”; she insinuated that Florida Gov. Charlie Christ was homosexual; and gave a list of “totally not gay” celebrities. The posts were uncovered using the Wayback Machine, a resource run by the Internet Archive that essentially saves a version of almost every website on the internet. The purported slurs were exposed by an internet sleuth who had previously outed Reid for comments she made in the past.
While Reid previously apologized for her comments in the past, this time she insisted that she was hacked, much to the skepticism of damn near everybody.
But Tuesday evening, MSNBC and Reid provided evidence from a cybersecurity expert that seemed to back up the claim that she was hacked.
Independent security consultant Jonathan Nichols said that the screenshots from the Wayback Machine were manipulated and that either Reid’s blog or the Wayback Machine was hacked and her posts were manipulated.
Wayback Machine officials dispute that they were hacked, and there is no way to check the veracity of Nichols’ claims because her old blogs, which were archived in 2006, are no longer available on the site. But here’s the interesting thing:
I don’t care.
And the reason I don’t care is for the most hypocritical reason of them all: I don’t care because I like Joy Reid.
Because I like her, I have watched her show, as well as seen her hopscotch around the MSNBC lineup filling in for other hosts. Because I’ve watched her, I don’t think she’s homophobic.
I have nothing to back up that claim except my own prejudice. And given the fact that I’ve roasted white people for far less racism, and hip-hop artists for far less homophobia than what Reid is purported to have written, I know it sounds hypocritical, but here’s the thing:
Isn’t that what we do? Don’t we all pick and choose whom we want to support based on how much we like them? Isn’t that why we don’t think of Tupac as a rapist even though he was found guilty in a court of law? Isn’t this why we believed that Bill Cosby had put a nonrefundable downpayment on NBC? Isn’t it why we excuse the problematic behavior of some of our favorites?
Look, I think Kanye West is an asshole, but if he is really making an album with Nas, I won’t care if Ivanka Trump is in the video twerking, I’m gonna listen to it. I like his music, so I excuse some of his behavior.
Deep down inside, I think Joy Reid probably wrote those things. I hope she didn’t, but even if she did, I can assure you that I’ve said and written some things in my past that I’m not too proud of. I once wrote something singing the praises of Michael Rapaport. I don’t think you can get any stupider than that.
Maybe I’m contradicting myself and all the things I’ve written when celebrities do something racist or make anti-black statements. Maybe I’m not looking at this objectively, or perhaps I’m totally wrong. But if I am being disingenuous, there is a valid explanation:
I was hacked.