Why We Need Melissa Harris-Perry

By | March 6, 2016

Melissa Harris-Perry is out at MSNBC. But wow, she isn’t going quietly.

The popular host of her eponymously named show—nicknamed #Nerdland for its mix of academic theory, social issues, and deep, substantive cultural topics—went public with a scathing email last week. In it, she castigated MSNBC management for squashing the show and deep-sixing her airtime:

The purpose of this decision seems to be to provide cover for MSNBC, not to provide voice for MHP Show. I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head.

And now Harris-Perry has walked away from exit negotiations with MSNBC, refusing to accept a blanket non-disparagement clause, or as she put it, “gag order.”

In a series of flaming tweets, Harris-Perry flipped the metaphorical bird to the network, calling out the network’s treatment of minority hosts, its “culture of fear,” and roundly rejecting the notion that her silence could be bought. Her final, epic kiss-off to MSNBC referenced an network exec who had branded her “challenging and unpredictable”: