MSNBC panel makes fun of Romney photo with black grandchild
(CNN) — MSNBC panelists on Monday faced criticism after poking fun at a photo of Mitt Romney, his wife and their nearly two dozen grandchildren, zeroing in on the Romneys’ recently adopted African-American grandchild, Kieran.
During the segment, which appeared on the show “Melissa Harris-Perry,” the panelists made jokes about the infant standing out.
Two of them later responded to critics on Twitter, defending their comments and saying they weren’t directed at the baby.
Asked Sunday to come up with captions for the photo as part of a game they were playing, one of panelists, actress Pia Glenn, started singing lines from the song popularized by Sesame Street: “One of These Things Is Not Like the Others.”
Another panelist, comedian Dean Obeidallah, said the picture “really sums up the diversity of the Republican Party.” (Obeidallah appears frequently on CNN and writes a regular opinion column for CNN.com.)
Harris-Perry described the baby as “gorgeous,” before predicting Kieran would one day marry North West, the daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
“Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws?” Harris-Perry said, drawing laughs.
CNN reached out to Romney and MSNBC for a comment.
Glenn, the panelist who sang the song, first defended her comments on Twitter, but later apologized.
“Adoptive parents giving a child of ANY ethnicity a loving home, I apologize. I absolutely did not intend to harm you but it seems that I have,” she wrote.
For his part, Obeidallah tweeted: “I want to sincerely apologize to adopted baby of Romney family if baby was offended re my joke that RNC convention was not racially diverse.”
In September, Romney announced on Twitter that Kieran James Romney had been adopted. His son Ben and daughter-in-law Andelynne are the parents.
After Republican blogs and commentators pointed out the panel’s comments, the criticism started pouring in Monday.
Stuart Stevens, a political consultant and senior adviser to Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, tweeted, “MSNBC has become a club where the smug go to exchange hateful opinions and reassure each other it’s acceptable.”
Former Republican Sen. Scott Brown, a friend of the Romneys, urged MSNBC to apologize for this “wildly inappropriate incident. Viewers and the Romney family deserve better.”
“Check out these adult progressives on MSNBC mocking a black child for being adopted by a white family,” tweeted conservative commentator and radio host Dana Loesch.
By Ashley Killough
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