MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry apologized to Mitt Romney on Tuesday after a Sunday panel on her show turned Romney’s adopted African-American grandson, Kieran Romney, into a punchline.
“Everybody loves a baby picture,” Harris-Perry said, “and this was one that really, a lot of people had emotions about this baby picture this year. This is the Romney family. And, of course, there on Governor Romney’s knee is his adopted grandson, who is an African-American, adopted African-American child, Kieran Romney.”
“Any captions for this one?” she asked the panel.
As a family photo was displayed, panelist Pia Glenn sand “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” despite the original lyrics of that song, “one of these things doesn’t belong.”
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“And that little baby, front and center, would be the one,” she added.
“And isn’t he the most gorgeous?” Harris-Perry said. “My goal is that in 2040, the biggest thing of the year will be the wedding between Kieran Romney and North West. Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?”
“I think this picture is great,” said comedian panelist Dean Obeidallah. “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party, the RNC. At the convention, they find the one black person.”
The commentary sparked outrage from viewers. Many criticized the segment on Twitter.
“What's funny about someone adopting a black baby? You are not okay. @MHarrisPerry,” tweeted Brandon Darby.
“Can someone explain how @MHarrisPerry & her panelists on MSNBC haven't been suspended over this,” wrote Joe Walsh.
Today Perry apologized at length to Romney via Twitter under the hashtag “MHPapology.”
“I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification. I apologize to the Romney family,” she wrote.
“I work by guiding principle that those who offend do not have the right to tell those they hurt that they r wrong for hurting,” she added.
“Therefore, while I meant no offense, I want to immediately apologize to the Romney family for hurting them,” she wrote.
“As black child born into large white Mormon family I feel familiarity w/ Romney family pic & never meant to suggest otherwise.”
“I apologize to all families built on loving transracial adoptions who feel I degraded their lives or choices.”
Pia Glenn was also the subject of derision for her part in the segment.
Glenn tweeted, "Yes, I sang the song. There are many children in the pic & only 1 black child. I don't see that as mocking or attacking the baby."