LGBT group rescinds award for MSNBC’s Joy Reid

A leading LGBT advocacy group rescinded its Straight for Equality in Media Award from MSNBC host Joy Reid on Tuesday amid a controversy surrounding newly unearthed homophobic comments made on a decade-old blog post.

Liz Owen, director of communications for PFLAG National, said the group had invited Reid to honor her at their 45th anniversary celebration knowing about some posts that she had already apologized for.

But it said revelations of new posts had caused it to rescind the invitation.

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“We appreciated how she stepped up, took ownership, apologized for them, and did better—this is the behavior and approach we ask of any ally,” Owens said of the older posts. “However, in light of new information, and the ongoing investigation of that information, we must at this time rescind our award to Ms. Reid.”

Reid has said the newly revealed posts, which include expressions of disgust toward men kissing, are fabricated and the result of hacking.

She told Mediaite, an online publication that covers media with a focus on cable news, that she “began working with a cyber-security expert who first identified the unauthorized activity.”

She also said she “notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach.”

According to The New York Times, MSNBC provided letters in December from a lawyer for Reid to Google’s parent company and the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library that hosted Reid’s blog, alerting them to hacking and asking for assistance.

The Internet Archive said Tuesday it could find no evidence to back up her claim of hacking. 

“When we reviewed the archives, we found nothing to indicate tampering or hacking of the Wayback Machine versions,” the Internet Archive wrote in a blog post. “At least some of the examples of allegedly fraudulent posts provided to us had been archived at different dates and by different entities.”

“We let Reid’s lawyers know that the information provided was not sufficient for us to verify claims of manipulation,” it added. 

Reid apologized for an initial batch of blog posts discovered back in December, all written a decade ago, that included homophobic remarks. 

“As someone who is not a member of the LGBT community, I regret the way I addressed the complex issue of the closet and speculation on a person’s sexual orientation with a mocking tone and sarcasm,” Reid wrote in a December statement. “It was insensitive, tone deaf and dumb.”

The Hill reached out to MSNBC for comment, which provided this statement from Reid, first released on Monday

"In December I learned that an unknown, external party accessed and manipulated material from my now-defunct blog, The Reid Report, to include offensive and hateful references that are fabricated and run counter to my personal beliefs and ideology," Reid said in the statement.

"I began working with a cyber-security expert who first identified the unauthorized activity, and we notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach. The manipulated material seems to be part of an effort to taint my character with false information by distorting a blog that ended a decade ago," she continued.

"Now that the site has been compromised I can state unequivocally that it does not represent the original entries. I hope that whoever corrupted the site recognizes the pain they have caused, not just to me, but to my family and communities that I care deeply about: LGBTQ, immigrants, people of color and other marginalized groups," Reid concluded."

Updated: 12:41 p.m.