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MSNBC apologizes for ‘ill-advised’ Cinco de Mayo segment

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The anchor of MSNBC’s “Way Too Early” apologized Tuesday for “ill-advised” references to Mexicans and Cinco de Mayo.

Thomas Roberts, who hosts the show from 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m., told viewers via Twitter that a segment that featured a correspondent in a sombrero swilling tequila was not intended to demean Mexicans.

“On Monday, Cinco De Mayo, ‘Way Too Early’ made sarcastic references to the way some Americans celebrate the holiday,” he tweeted. “It was not our intention to be disrespectful and we sincerely apologize for the ill-advised references.”

The apology came after Hugo Balta, the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said in a written statement, “This is simply the worst example I have seen of a discriminatory stereotypical portrayal of any community by any media. The fact that this was done by a news organization is abominable. This wasn’t a chance occurrence. This was a planned segment where many decision-makers at MSNBC’s ‘Way Too Early’ program agreed on the content and execution which concluded on what was seen nationwide.”

Balta added in a Skype interview with CNN en EspaƱol: “It made me ashamed for the journalists, for this network MSNBC, to show a segment that is full of stereotypes about the Mexican community.”

During several moments in the show on Monday, correspondent Louis Burgdorf appeared in a suit and tie and a sombrero.

“Happy Cinco de Mayo. Let me just take a shot here to get the thing started,” he said before appearing to take a drink. “Ole!”

Later, Roberts was shown dancing with a maraca in one hand while there were margarita glasses and bottles of “tequila” on his anchor desk.

Burgdorf also popped into the closing shot, in which he apparently pretended to drink from one of the tequila bottles for several seconds as Roberts explained the background of the holiday.

Roberts also will apologize Wednesday on the air, according to several media reports.

7 comments

  • observer10

    When it comes to humor, everybody thinks that they are a victim of racism. The only acceptable subjects are Christians or white men.

  • Bran

    such pansies. people can’t handle the truth and let’s face it, a lot of people get wasted and act stupid.

  • jr

    Most people don’t know that back in 1912, Dukes’s mayonnaise was manufactured in England. In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York. This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico. But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York. The ship hit an iceberg and sank. The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning.
    The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as -Sinko De Mayo.

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