MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski became engulfed in controversy on Wednesday when she faced accusations of homophobia for mocking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a “wannabe dictator’s butt-boy.”
Brzezinski (pictured above right) began by criticizing Pompeo (above left) for his reaction to the murder of The Washington Post’s Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.
In particular, Brzezinski reacted to Pompeo’s recent interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” in which he denounced the “tragic” murder but emphasized that Saudi Arabia is still “an important ally” of the U.S.
Pompeo said “the Saudis have already paid the price. There are the folks who actually committed the murder, we’ve held accountable. We will continue to do that. No one underestimates how horrible this murder was.”
“I understand that [President] Donald Trump doesn’t care,” Brzezinski reacted. “But why doesn’t Mike Pompeo care right now?”
“Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard when he appeared on ‘Fox & Friends’ ― is that a patriot speaking or a wannabe dictator’s butt boy?” Brzezinski wondered.
The “Morning Joe” co-host’s slur came during a time when people have been digging into celebrities’ social media histories trying to find homophobic tweets or other offensive comments that are literally years old.
Brzezinski’s slur drew immediate backlash on social media as people accused her of homophobia.
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Photographer and writer G.E. Anderson tweeted, “[email protected] just asked if Mike Pompeo is a ‘wannabe dictator’s butt boy,’ as homophobic a term as I’ve heard on national morning television. @MSNBC tried and failed to censor it, and did not transcribe her remark in the closed captioning. #journalism.”
“I was with you, @morningmika, right up to the ‘butt boy’ comment. Try ‘toadie’ or ‘lackey’ or ‘stool pigeon’ or ‘a** kisser,’ or ‘traitor,’ but maybe don’t equate homosexuality with Mike Pompeo carrying water for the murderous regime in Saudi Arabia,” Anderson added.
.@morningmika just asked if Mike Pompeo is a “wannabe dictator’s butt boy,” as homophobic a term as I’ve heard on national morning television. @MSNBC tried and failed to censor it, and did not transcribe her remark in the closed captioning. #journalism pic.twitter.com/3zK7H8evjh
— G.E. Anderson (@g_e_anderson) December 12, 2018
I was with you, @morningmika, right up to the “butt boy” comment. Try “toadie” or “lackey” or “stool pigeon” or “ass kisser,” or “traitor,” but maybe don’t equate homosexuality with Mike Pompeo carrying water for the murderous regime in Saudi Arabia.
— G.E. Anderson (@g_e_anderson) December 12, 2018
NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik wrote, “This is bad.”
He also said, “Will require more from Brzezinski than a Twitterpology.”
This is bad. Will require more from Brzezinski than a Twitterpology. https://t.co/GoTKn23wrl
— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) December 12, 2018
Radio host Larry O’Connor tweeted, “Mika Brzezinski (called Sec State “butt boy”), Alec Baldwin (called photographer “c***sucker”), Joy Reid (years of homophobic statements on her blog and Twitter), All employees in good standing at @nbc and @NBCNews.”
Mika Brzezinski (called Sec State "butt boy")
Alec Baldwin (called photographer "c***sucker")
Joy Reid (years of homophobic statements on her blog and Twitter)
— Larry O'Connor (@LarryOConnor) December 12, 2018
MSNBC host Joy Reid found herself in the middle of a firestorm in 2017 and 2018 for homophobic blog posts she wrote from 2007 to 2009.
Although Reid apologized and insisted she has “evolved” since then, she also claimed that her blog may have been hacked because she didn’t remember writing some of the offensive posts.
But MSNBC didn’t nix Reid.
Media Research Center (MRC) Vice President for Business and Culture Dan Gainor tweeted, “Hey @MSNBC, isn’t this anti-gay? Oh yeah, you don’t care about that because you still employ @JoyAnnReid.”
Hey @MSNBC, isn't this anti-gay? Oh yeah, you don't care about that because you still employ @JoyAnnReid | Disgusting Mika Brzezinski Slimes Pompeo as "Wannabe Dictator’s Butt Boy" https://t.co/adzumSsbrH
— Dan Gainor (@dangainor) December 12, 2018
Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean tweeted, “This apology isn’t good enough. Not a simple oops moment. It’s deeply disturbing.”
This apology isn’t good enough. Not a simple oops moment. It’s deeply disturbing.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) December 12, 2018
Brzezinski responded directly to Anderson’s criticism and ultimately apologized on Twitter for using the slur without apologizing specifically to Pompeo.
She did, however, apologize to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who appeared on the segment.
“Totally agree with you — SUPER BAD choice of words … I should have said ‘water boy’… like for football teams or something like that … Apologize to @SenatorDurbin too! SO SORRY!” Brzezinski wrote.
Totally agree with you -SUPER BAD choice of words .. I should have said “water boy”… like for football teams or something like that.. apologize to @SenatorDurbin too! SO SORRY! https://t.co/zIqsGdK3Tk
— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) December 12, 2018
Check out Brzezinski’s remarks in the video clip below: