White woman in. Black woman out.
With NBC’s decision to insert Megyn Kelly into the third hour of the “TODAY Show” and Tamron Hall leaving when her contract runs out next month, African Americans in the industry are becoming concerned with the network’s commitment to racial diversity. According to New York Post‘s Page Six it’s still unclear whether Kelly will slip into Hall’s spot or take over Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee‘s liquid talk show.
To be sure, NBC “TODAY Show’s” black weatherman Al Roker, who infamously once shit his pants at the White House, sent out a tweet to purposefully hurt Kelly. According to a longtime TV media source, he’s leading the charge to make Kelly as uncomfortable as possible. Producers learned about the shakeup a day after Roker unleashed his telling tweet.
“He sent that tweet out in order to fuck her,” the source told The Mirror. “Al Roker is trying to hurt her by doing that.”
As it stands, Craig Melvin is the only black anchor left. Michael Steele, who is black, is an MSNBC political analyst, appears regularly on “Morning Joe.” Joy Reid, who is black, works at the network and even has her own show, but has no contract with the network. [Update: The network says she does. The Mirror is investigating further on this…] She hosts “AM Joy”, a weekend program that airs on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. She also appears often on other shows such as “The 11th Hour” with Brian Williams, who is white.
“There’s lots of concern internally with African Americans leaving,” an industry source told The Mirror on condition of anonymity. “What in the hell is going on at the network? Joy has no contract. They’ve been working her like a dog. You will see her filling in for Lawrence O’Donnell, working her around the clock. If you’re Joy, you don’t want to say no to stuff because you want a contract, it doesn’t bode well if they’re not signing you to a new deal.”
The insider said, “Joy has complained to any number of people about it. It is frustrating for Joy who is a consummate professional. It’s been several months. What we’ve seen over the last 18 months has been a whitewash at the network. It is as if the first African American left the White House and so are the African Americans at MSNBC. I have no idea how in the hell Phil Griffin has survived considering her was the brains behind the Lean Forward campaign at MSNBC. Somehow he has risen above that and is still held in high regard at NBC and MSNBC. He should have been gone long ago, but the good old boys club knows how to protect their own.”
Blacks who have parted ways with network in recent years include Goldie Taylor, James Peterson, Dorian Warren, Michael Eric Dyson, Karen Finney and Touré Neblett. Other African Americans who remain at the network include WaPo‘s Jonathan Capehart and Eugene Robinson, who are contributors, and NBC News’ senior political correspondent Perry Bacon.
“Clearly [NBC and MSNBC Chairman] Andy Lack and [MSNBC Prez] Phil Griffin have made a conscious decision to remove black talent from the air at MSNBC,” the insider continued. “The network used to have lots of on air talent and focus on issues in particular interests to African Americans. Those days are now over and one of the loudest megaphones — the Rev. Al Sharpton can’t say a word about any of this because he’s on the payroll. So the question is, who will speak up for African Americans who are being wiped out at MSNBC?”
As for Sharpton’s 8 a.m Sunday show, the source said, “No one watches that bullshit.”
Will Chris Hayes be like that guy in Soul Man and start taking pills to make himself black?
If MSNBC wants to appease African Americans in the media industry, he may have to.
Update: Despite my source insisting that Joy Reid has no contract, an MSNBC spokesperson wrote The Mirror to say that Joy Reid is under contract.” I’ve added a sentence above to reflect that. But the facts may still be tricky here. Stay tuned…
Update 2: According to my inside source, Reid’s contract ended on January 1 and the network has offered her a short-term extension, which she has not signed. Even if she does sign, which she likely will, there’s no guarantee that she’ll get a new longterm deal. My sources tell me Reid is officially operating under the terms of the original contract in terms of her salary.