Pizzagate vs Jokegate
December 5th, 2017 – Sam Seder is fighting back today after MSNBC cut ties with him following what he says is a smear campaign led by a Nazi alt-right blogger. Last week, Mike Cernovich, who launched the Pizzagate conspiracy, posted an article to Medium titled “MSNBC Contributor Sam Seder Endorses Polanski’s Sex Crimes in Now Deleted Tweet.”
The following day, the senior vice president of communications at MSNBC left a voicemail for Seder telling him the network was ending its contract with him. What was missing in those few hours in between, Seder and his supporters say, is the conversation about the “willful misinterpretation of a tweet posted in 2009.”
At that time, there was a push from some in the film industry to allow Roman Polanski to return to the United States and dismiss a trial for his alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl. In a video posted last week, Seder reminds viewers that the arguments in support of Polanski were that “time had passed” and “he’s an important filmmaker.” He also reminds the audience that, in 2009, he was an actor, professional satirist and comedy writer and was “disgusted that a community I was event tangentially associated with would defend a child rapist based on the fact that he was a good filmmaker.”
Seder’s response was to rely on his skills as a satirist, so he tweeted out the following:
Seder believes that Cernovich’s attempts to get him fired, and to lose advertisers from his podcast, is a direct result of being outspoken against Roy Moore and Donald Trump – both of whom have numerous sexual assault and harassment claims against them.
While debating political motivations will surely continue, the conversation has rested heavily on the question of whether or not corporations should fire people for jokes made on Twitter in the past. Cernovich himself has used the defense of satire when critics labeled him a misogynist, a rape apologist and a white nationalist. During his YouTube video earlier this year, he claimed some of his comments had been “taken out of context and called some of them ‘obvious satire’ that had been misinterpreted in bad faith.”
Plenty of people on Twitter seemed to agree that Sam Seder’s 2009 joke was misinterpreted in bad faith and that you shouldn’t get fired because of a joke you wrote when you were a comedy writer.
Also, I reiterate my longstanding position that people shouldn’t be fired for a tweet, *particularly* one that is obviously being read in manifestly bad faith.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) December 4, 2017
Sam Seder made a tweet in 2009 that accurately called out liberal apologists for a known rapist and MSNBC fired him. We are screwed.
— Brooklyn Spoke (@BrooklynSpoke) December 4, 2017
Totally disgusting. The alt-right forces @MSNBC to cut ties with @SamSeder over a Polanski joke you’d have to bend over backwards to misinterpret. Don’t capitulate to these fascists. https://t.co/YuaS3GFVYS
— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) December 4, 2017
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) December 4, 2017
Do I have this right: MSNBC executives canned Sam Seder for mocking those who defend famous men accused of rape—& a few months ago, their counterparts at NBC pulled support for Ronan Farrow’s investigation into alleged rapist Harvey Weinstein?
— Avi Asher-Schapiro (@AASchapiro) December 4, 2017
Seder has raised over $10,000 dollars on GoFundMe after the news broke of his firing from MSNBC, and he is keeping his pushback alive on the Majority Report.
Watch Sam Seder’s defense and let us know your thoughts. Do you think MSNBC should fire someone over a satirical joke that was “willfully misinterpreted?”