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MSNBC to Sever Ties With Contributor Sam Seder After Resurfaced Roman Polanski Rape Joke

Citing a since-deleted tweet from eight years ago, the network announced it will not renew Seder's contract in 2018. Seder contends he was the target of an alt-right smear campaign.

Sam Seder

Screenshot/The Majority Report

UPDATE (December 7, 2017): MSNBC has reversed its decision to fire contributor Sam Seder, following a resurfaced tweet involving a Roman Polanski rape joke. MSNBC president Phil Griffin issued the following statement to The Intercept: “Sometimes you just get one wrong – and that’s what happened here…we don’t consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about… [W]e understand that the point Sam was trying to make…was actually in line with our values even though the language was not.”

Earlier: MSNBC announced it will sever ties with contributor Sam Seder, citing a resurfaced tweet making light of Roman Polanski’s rape conviction. Seder’s contract was due to expire in February, and the network has no appearances scheduled between now and then, according to initial reports by The Wrap. In a since-deleted tweet from 2009, Seder wrote: “Don’t care re Polanski, but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/a great sense of mise en scene.”

“Internally there was disgust over the tweet,” a source at MSNBC told The Wrap.

The tweet was originally brought to the network’s attention by alt-right media personality Mike Cernovich. Seder addressed the controversy on a recent episode of his podcast, “The Majority Report,” titled “I’m Under Attack By the Nazi Alt-Right,” saying he was the target of a smear campaign by Cernovich. “This smear involves the willful misinterpretation of a tweet that I posted in 2009,” said Seder.

Seder explained that he wrote the tweet in response to a petition calling for Polanski to be admitted into the U.S. despite being convicted for sexually assaulting a minor. He claims the tweet was meant to be satirical, pointing to the hypocrisy of Hollywood in defending Polanski. “I will never be ashamed of criticizing those who would excuse the predation of women or girls,” he added.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes (“All In With Chris Hayes”) voiced his support for Seder, tweeting: “The entire culture and our politics are now dominated by people who have weaponized bad faith and shamelessness.” He later added: “Also, I reiterate my longstanding position that people shouldn’t be fired for a tweet, *particularly* one that is obviously being read in manifestly bad faith.”

In addition to his career as a political commentator, Seder is also an actor, comedian, and filmmaker, whose credits include guest spots on “Maron,” “Sex and the City,” and “Bob’s Burgers.”


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