Sometimes, no matter what you say, you’re wrong… What you decide to say in those situations, that’s your business…unless you say it on national TV. Then, well, it tends to become everyone’s business. Just ask MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski.
After journalist Mark Halperin was accused of sexual harassment, Brzezinski chose to discuss the issue live on “Morning Joe.” Her comments included a discussion of her opinion that Halperin, who she says is a friend, would be “willing to meet with his accusers and apologize face-to-face…”
Those comments, among others, upset some of the women who have accused Halperin as well as those advocating for them. One of the women, Emily Miller, has previously accused Halperin of “attacking” her, said she was very upset by the remarks. Miller added that Brzezinski had invited her onto the show to confront Halperin. Speaking to CNN, Miller said:
“She did invite me to go on the show with him so she could mediate and it had to be an exclusive… I can’t re-traumatize myself to be in the same room with him to please Mika Brzezinski and her rich and famous friends… She wants the ratings and Jerry Springer. And seemingly she now wants to help her rich, powerful friend get back into power. He’s not going to change. Sexual predators like Mark Halperin cannot be rehabilitated. He should not be allowed to be alone around any women — much less his victims.”
These very strong remarks have been echoed by other Halperin accusers, including Lara Setrakian, who said: “The whole decision making around what should come next begins with him being an adult and begins with him speaking as an adult, not through a proxy.”
Miller added, speaking to CNN, “(Halperin) has, on the record, denied my accusations which is extremely painful as a victim to be denied the truth. It is disgusting and unethical of Mika to use the power of her show to shame me, a sexual assault victim, into meeting with the man who did that to me.”
After those comments, Brzezinski was quick to clarify and apologize, saying:
“We have been trying our best on Morning Joe to have an honest conversation about sexual harassment and sexual assault… The issue has hit close to home given that Mark Halperin was on our show. I have spent a lot of time talking to some of his accusers and to Mark himself. Often I bring up the issue on our show because I think it would be less than genuine to talk about the growing number of cases without recognizing that a former member of our team acted very badly.”
Brzezinski continued, offering her apology for causing any pain to the alleged victims… “In our discussion about sexual harassment this morning, I said some things that hurt people… My goal today was to start a conversation about hearing from the men whenever we can, but I realize that it is not my place. It isn’t my call to make, and for that, I am truly sorry. As a victim of sexual assault, I understand that each individual’s case is different. This is up to the victims, some of whom I’ve been in contact with. My hope is for all of us to come together to support the brave women who speak out and help make workplaces safer as we continue this difficult conversation in the months and years ahead.”
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.