MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski apologized late Friday for comments she had made earlier in the day about Mark Halperin’s sexual assault or harassment accusers.
Halperin, who appeared consistently on Brzezinski’s show “Morning Joe” as a political analyst, was fired by NBC News on Oct. 30 following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. His contracts with MSNBC and HBO were also terminated.
"We have been trying our best on Morning Joe to have an honest conversation about sexual harassment and sexual assault," Brzezinski said in a statement Friday. "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."
She added: "In our discussion about sexual harassment this morning, I said some things that hurt people. In the case of Mark, 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."
Brzezinski came under fire when she said earlier on Friday that she had tried to arrange a meeting between the women and Halperin so that he could apologize.
Halperin, she said, was "more than willing to meet with his accusers and apologize with them face-to-face."
Brzezinski added that she “actually tried to offer him to them,” but the women “don't want to talk to him.”
Paul Farhi, a Washington Post reporter, then tweeted a letter signed by 10 women who have accused Halperin that was sent to MSNBC calling Brzezinski’s suggestion “inappropriate.”
“Sexual harassment and assault is illegal in the workplace, and represents a violation of the policies and standards of NBC News," the letter said. "It is an unethical and harmful request to ask that sexual assault victims confront their accusers in person and, in particular, on live TV.”
The letter then asks Brzezinski to adhere to “higher standards of editorial judgment, compassion and human decency.”