MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: UNBOUGHT AND UNGAGGED

Ken Berwitz


I\’m no fan of Melissa Harris-Perry from a political standpoint (she\’s hard left) or a racial one (her father is Black and her mother White, but she says  “I\’ve never thought of myself as biracial. I\’m black.” – which makes her mother feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I\’m sure).  

Ms. Perry has also made a series of genuinely stupid, offensive comments when hosting her weekend shows on (where else?) MSNBC – and off-air, which would include the racially-charged tweet that got her fired from the network this past week.

But I have to admire her integrity when it comes to receiving an exit package.

Excerpted from Dylan Byers\’ article at money.cnn.com:

On Tuesday, the outgoing MSNBC host saidthat her exit negotiations with the network fell through after she refused toaccept the terms of a non-disparagement clause that she described as “agag order.”

“They wanted meto sign a non-disparagement clause, and we had a deep disagreement over whatconstituted the non-disparagement clause,” Harris-Perry told CNNMoney onTuesday. “They wanted me not to speak about MSNBC. I said no.”

James Perry,Harris-Perry\’s husband and the one who led the negotiations with MSNBC, saidthat MSNBC\’s non-disparagement clause would have restricted his wife tospeaking about MSNBC only when it was “positive or in her academicwork.”

“I\’ll never getanother penny from MSNBC,” Harris-Perry said.

It has been widely reported that the Perrys have had financial difficulties in recent years.  Losing the compensation for hosting her shows had to be a jolt.  And losing an exit package is certainly won\’t help things.

But if the reason is that MSNBC refuses to provide that exit package unless she agrees to say only good things about the network – i.e. shut up about how she truly feels, we\’re talking principle.  

Melissa Harris-Perry, acting on principle can hold her head high.  Just as the “brain trust” of MSNBC, acting on nothing but slef-interest and bile, should hang theirs in shame.

Whatever differences we have in other areas, I strongly commend, and admire, Ms. Harris-Perry for sticking to thoseprinciples, even if it hurts to do so.  You don\’t find that very often…and barely ever find it at all in the news/entertainment business.  

Good for her.  And, again, shame on MSNBC.

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