MSNBC has apologized for airing an offensive Cinco De Mayo segment on Way Too Early yesterday morning. During the segment, which featured a chyron reading "Mexican Heritage Celebration," host Thomas Roberts attempted to explain the significance of the holiday while producer Louis Burgdorf walked around in a sombrero, chugging tequila and shaking a maraca.
"It's also an excuse to drink tequila on a Monday morning at work for Louis," Roberts said, later adding "you have to drink the whole thing and eat the worm."
Shortly after it aired, Hugo Balta, the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, criticized the segment, calling it "abominable."
"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 journalists agreed on the content and execution which concluded on what was seen nationwide. It feeds to the ignorant misconceptions of a rich and proud people who unfortunately are too often portrayed as caricatures to be scoffed at. NAHJ denounces the actions taken by MSNBC's "Way Too Early" team for their capricious actions, lack of judgment, insensitivity and attack at the Mexican community. NAHJ demands that the employees involved in the planning and production of this segment be disciplined and made to publicly apologize for their actions."
MSNBC issued a statement apologizing for the segment Tuesday and will apologize on-air later in the day.
"On Monday, Cinco De Mayo, 'Way Too Early' made sarcastic references to the way some Americans celebrate the holiday," MSNBC said. "It was not our intention to be disrespectful and we sincerely apologize for the ill-advised references."
Alex Korson, an executive producer for the show, also said that everyone involved with the segment will be disciplined.
This is the third time in the past six months MSNBC has apologized for one of its segments. In November, Martin Bashir apologized (and later resigned) after suggesting that someone should take a shit in Sarah Palin's mouth. Just over a month later, the network apologized for making a joke about Mitt Romney's black grandchild. And in January, the network apologized for tweeting that conservatives hate biracial families.
[GIF via BuzzFeed]