CNN anchor Don Lemon publicly criticized Melissa Harris-Perry and a panel on her self-titled show for making jokes about former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at the expense of his Black grandson Kieran Romney. In the wake of Harris-Perry’s gracious apology, Lemon has now come forward to applaud her sincerity.
“The first rule of comedy is that it should be funny,” Lemon said. “It wasn’t. There is nothing humorous about a panel of adults on national television pointing out the ‘otherness’ of a baby in relation to the members of his family, especially a little black baby.”
But Harris-Perry’s apology was in the right key, Lemon said.
“In [Alec Baldwin's] apology, he said, “Words are important. I understand that, and will choose mine with great care going forward,’” Lemon said. “That’s good advice to Melissa Harris Perry, and her colleagues at MSNBC and all of us. We should all choose our words very carefully, exactly the way Melissa Harris Perry did in her apology.”
“Her words— ‘I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family’—She got it right. And it takes a very big person to do that…Perhaps one our resolutions should be to learn from Ms. Harris-Perry the art of the apology.”
As previously reported by NewsOne, Harris-Perry and the panel were discussing the most talked about pictures of 2013 and adding captions to them. Included in the bunch was a picture of former Massachusetts Governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s adopted grandson Kieran Romney — who happens to be Black.
“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, an adopted African-American [grand]child, Kieran Romney.”
When asked to caption the picture, comedian and actress Pia Glenn sang: “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same … “And that little baby, front and center, would be the one.”
“And isn’t he the most gorgeous?” Harris-Perry responded in an attempt to divert from Glenn’s impromptu song. “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?”
Comedian Dean Obeidallah had already taken the ball and run with it though: “I think this picture is great,” he said. “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party, the RNC. At the convention, they find the one Black person.”
Harris-Perry, Glenn and Obeidallah all issued apologies to the Romney family.
Read them here.
Listen to Lemon’s full segment on the Tom Joyner Morning Show at Mediaite.