Reid has previously claimed her blog was hacked and that she was unaware that the anti-gay comments had been inserted under her name long after she had stopped writing it. MSNBC has stood by her pending an FBI investigation. The bizarre allegations have raised questions about Reid’s honesty and integrity.
The new reports seem likely to raise additional pressure on NBC News to fire her, especially in the wake of ABC firing sitcom star Roseanne Barr for anti-Semitic and racist tweets. Conservatives have been particularly eager to condemn Reid, who has espoused liberal and progressive opinions on her program, “AM Joy,” which airs on weekend mornings.
Representatives of NBC had no comment when contacted late Wednesday afternoon. Reid could not be reached.
The latest series of controversial comments, first reported by BuzzFeed News, involve Reid’s apparently favorable comments about an infamous “truther” documentary called “Loose Change 9/11.” The 2005 film (the first in a series) makes the widely discredited claim that it was the U.S. government, instead of al-Qaeda terrorists, that plotted to attack the Pentagon and bring down the World Trade Center towers.
Reid’s old blog (“Reidblog”) from her time as a local broadcaster in south Florida, linked to a Web video of the film in March 2006, and added this comment: “The fundamental question is: do you believe the official story of 9/11? If you do, great. If you don’t, then everything that happened after that is called into serious question. Even if you’re agnostic, or you tend to believe that al-Qaida attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon and that the government had no warning such a thing could happen, it’s worth taking a second look.”
BuzzFeed also found another post from around the same time that included a comment alleging that government officials identified the 9/11 plotters “suspiciously soon.” It raised suspicions popular in conspiracy-theory circles, such as questioning why a building in the trade center complex that was not directly struck by an airplane collapsed as well.
“For that matter, why did any of the WTV [sic] buildings fall...?” the blog says. “Somehow I think it will be a generation before we get the full story on what happened on 9/11.”
Reid apologized in December after the website Mediaite published old posts from Reid’s blog in which she suggested that then-Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was a gay man who had gotten married as a cover. “I can just see poor Charlie on the honeymoon, ogling the male waiters and thinking to himself, ‘god, do I actually have to see her naked…?” one posting from 2008 said. In an apology to Crist, Reid called those comments “insensitive, tone deaf and dumb.”
She also apologized to conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who Reid had suggested in old tweets was a man.
When a second round of such postings surfaced in April, she denied responsibility and claimed her blog had been hacked, an assertion she acknowledged neither she nor a hired cybersecurity expert could prove.
“But here’s what I know,” she said on her program. “I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things, because they are completely alien to me. But I can definitely understand, based on things I have tweeted and have written in the past, why some people don’t believe me. I’ve not been exempt from being dumb or cruel or hurtful to the very people I want to advocate for. I own that. I get it. And for that, I am truly, truly sorry.”
Among the posts were comments that she couldn’t watch the movie “Brokeback Mountain” (“most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing”) and that being gay was a “lifestyle” that was “immoral.” Other posts called out celebrities and public figures for allegedly being gay.
In the wake of these revelations, the Daily Beast said it would temporarily suspend her column and a gay rights group rescinded a “Straight for Equality in Media” award Reid had been scheduled to receive in May.