MSNBC host apologizes for jokes about Romney's grandson

LOS ANGELES Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:08pm EST

LOS ANGELES Dec 31 (Reuters) - MSNBC television host Melissa Harris-Perry apologized on Tuesday for a recent segment on her show that joked about former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's adopted African-American grandson.

Harris-Perry said that the segment on Sunday's "Melissa Harris-Perry" show was meant to celebrate diversity and not disparage it.

"Whatever the intent, the segment proceeded in an unexpected way that was offensive," Harris-Perry said in a statement. "Without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family and to all families built on loving transracial adoptions."

The segment asked a panel to humorously caption a photo from the past year. One of the photos was of Romney holding his adopted African-American grandson alongside his wife, Ann, and other grandchildren.

Actress Pia Glenn sang "one of these things is not like the others," and comedian Dean Obeidallah joked that the photo "really sums up the diversity of the Republican party."

Harris-Perry, who is African-American and a political science professor at Tulane University, is the third MSNBC host to apologize for insensitive comments in the past two months.

Last month, actor Alec Baldwin's late-night talk show was canceled shortly after he apologized for calling a celebrity photographer a homophobic slur.

Host Martin Bashir resigned earlier this month after being suspended by MSNBC for making derogatory comments about former U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

MSNBC is owned by Comcast Corp.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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