MSNBC host Joy Reid has LGBT award revoked over homophobic blog posts row
An LGBT group has cancelled plans to give an award to MSNBC host Joy Reid – as a row over homophobic postings to her now-defunct blog worsens.
The political TV host already issued an apology last year accepting responsibility for casual homophobia in posts to her Reid Report blog that she penned between 2007 and 2009.
However, the story took a strange twist this week when further allegations of homophobic posts to the blog surfaced on social media.
Reid has denied writing the newly-surfaced posts, dated over a decade ago, claiming that her site has been “compromised” by hackers to add the incriminating content after-the-fact.
The news anchor claims that an “unknown, external party” had altered archives of her blog entries to add “offensive and hateful references that are fabricated and run counter to my personal beliefs and ideology.”
The archived versions are hosted by the Internet Archive, an independent preserver of online content.
Reid’s representatives appeared to suggest the organisation’s archived mirror of her blog had been compromised – but in a statement the Internet Archive insisted there is no indication hackers had tampered with its records relating to Reid’s blog.
Internet Archive representative Chris Butler explained: “Reid’s lawyers contacted us, asking to have archives of the blog taken down, stating that ‘fraudulent’ posts were ‘inserted into legitimate content’ in our archives of the blog.
“When we reviewed the archives, we found nothing to indicate tampering or hacking of the Wayback Machine versions.
“At least some of the examples of allegedly fraudulent posts provided to us had been archived at different dates and by different entities.
“We let Reid’s lawyers know that the information provided was not sufficient for us to verify claims of manipulation.
“Consequently, and due to Reid’s being a journalist (a very high-profile one, at that) and the journalistic nature of the blog archives, we declined to take down the archives.”
He added: “We were clear that we would welcome and consider any further information that they could provide us to support their claims.”
Speaking to The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald, cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Carr added that it was unlikely hackers had breached the Internet Archive in order to tamper with records relating to Reid.
He said: “Regarding the Wayback Machine, I don’t know. I’ve never heard of that happening… it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen, I guess.”
Noting that potentially hundreds of records could require alteration, Carr added: “That’s an awful lot of work for a hacker to do, and for what end? To make a homophobic person appear MORE homophobic?”
Following the row, LGBT group PFLAG has cancelled plans to give Reid a Straight for Equality in Media award at a ceremony next month.
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PFLAG National president Jean Hodges said: “When we extended our invitation to Ms. Reid to honor her at our 45th anniversary celebration, we did so knowing about the blog posts [revealed last year] from the late 2000s regarding Charlie Crist.
“We appreciated how she stepped up, took ownership, apologised for them, and did better—this is the behaviour and approach we ask of any ally.
“However, in light of new information, and the ongoing investigation of that information, we must at this time rescind our award to Ms. Reid.”
Reid continues to deny making the posts.