While the American Conservative Union’s Political Action Conference was in full swing, Melissa Harris-Perry decided to say goodbye to MSNBC over a dispute regarding editorial control. At end of February, it was reported that Perry had walked off her show since she felt that MSNBC executive had both shut her out of the 2016 campaign coverage and wrested creative control over her weekend show. She blasted an email to her staff about her grievances, which was then posted on Medium; The New York Times soon picked it up, which led to network executives doubting whether her show would come back on air altogether.
Soon afterwards, the liberal network decided to cut ties with Perry, whose contract was set to expire in October. Oh, and this whole kerfuffle was over a segment about Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance. CNN’s Dylan Byers reported that even Perry’s exit negotiations were a shambles, where the host balked at a non-disparagement clause:
They wanted me to sign a non-disparagement clause, and we had a deep disagreement over what constituted the non-disparagement clause," Harris-Perry told CNNMoney on Tuesday [March 1].
"They wanted me not to speak about MSNBC. I said no."
James Perry, Harris-Perry's husband and the one who led the negotiations with MSNBC, said that MSNBC's non-disparagement clause would have restricted his wife to speaking about MSNBC only when it was "positive or in her academic work."
"I'll never get another penny from MSNBC," Harris-Perry said.
The channel announced on Sunday that it was "parting ways" with Harris-Perry. That came two days after she published an email to friends saying that she had been "silenced" because the network had pre-empted her show for two consecutive weekends.
Yvette Miley, the senior vice president of talent and diversity, told CNN that Harris-Perry's show, like others on MSNBC, was only pre-empted in order to focus on the contentious 2016 presidential primary contest and said there were no plans to cancel it or strip Harris-Perry of editorial control.
"MSNBC is the place for politics, and as we're covering 2016 part of that coverage meant that we were going to look for opportunities during the course of 2016 to really focus on the race for the White House," Miley said. "There were pre-emptions that impacted shows across the network."
Perry’s show often delved into the issues of race and social justice…not anymore.