MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson has been benched from appearing on the network after bashing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) staffers.
According to The Daily Beast, Johnson, who serves as an editor at The Root, came under fire last week after during an appearance on Sirius XM’s “The Karen Hunter” show, where he referred to Sanders’ supporters as “racist white liberals” while charging the senator with doing “nothing for intersectionality.” He reserved his harshest critique for the black women on Sanders’ staff.
“I don’t care how many people from the island of misfit black girls you throw out there to defend you,” Johnson said.
Shortly thereafter, Sanders’ national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray accused Johnson of racism and sexism. “I hope we can have political disputes without engaging in open racism and sexism. This misogynoir is disappointing, but not surprising from [Jason Johnson],” she tweeted.
Though calls erupted for Jason Johnson’s firing, MSNBC ultimately sidelined him and issued no official comment on the matter.
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Johnson’s temporary sidelining included him not being involved in coverage of last weekend’s Nevada caucuses or the post-game coverage of Tuesday evening’s South Carolina debate, which aired on CBS. In an email to media outlets hyping its post-debate plans, Johnson’s name was nowhere to be found.
The punishment appears to have also cost Johnson his chance to be on-air during the network’s coverage of this past Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, which Sanders won in a landslide.
Johnson’s absence has been noticeable, as he has become a staple of MSNBC’s Democratic primary analysis roster. Prior to his benching, he made nearly 40 appearances on the network in 2020 alone.
Prior to his benching, Jason Johnson was regularly featured on programs like “Morning Joe,” “The Beat with Ari Melber,” and “The 11th Hour.” He was also regularly featured on panels during the Nevada primary debate. His last appearance came on February 21, just hours before his comments about Sanders’ staffers.
Most recently, Johnson asserted that President Trump would shut down voting in California after the president’s attorney Alan Dershowitz argued during the impeachment trial that “abuse of power” was not an impeachable offense if the president did not commit a crime.
“And when people spout nonsense, whether its Dershowitz or whether it’s Fox News, Donald Trump always listens,” said Johnson. “The scenario that he set up yesterday, by basically saying the president can do what he wants; imagine Donald Trump deciding, sometime in June, well, I heard this conspiracy theory that a whole lot of illegal immigrants voted in California. So, I’ve decided that, during the presidential election, California has to undergo extreme vetting because we can’t trust their votes. We’re going to shut down voting in a state. This is literally the kind of thing he will do now. We’re not talking hypotheticals, anymore.”
He continued, “And that’s the part that I think disturbs me; for all of these people who were worried about their elections, we’re talking about the actual country. And anything he’ll do to Joe Biden, he’ll do to a senator, he’ll do to a senator in his own party. So why people aren’t concerned, why people don’t realize that this is step one to actual autocracy. Not the theoretical one, not the one we talk about in class, but an actual president who will say, ‘This state’s votes don’t count. These people don’t have a right to vote. These people can’t come into the country.’ That is what they are allowing to happen here. And I don’t understand how anyone can not be terrified, not just angry, but literally terrified about what the future’s gonna bring.”