The NBC news correspondent who allegedly “stuttered on-air” and combined the words “Knicks” and “Lakers” says the entire ordeal “was so bad.”
MSNBC broadcaster Allison Morris was reporting on Kobe Bryant’s sudden death on Jan. 26 when she allegedly “stuttered on-air” and ended up saying what many believed was the N-word. After receiving immediate backlash from viewers, Morris took to Twitter to clear up the rumors. “Please know I did not & would NEVER use a racist term. I apologize for the confusion this caused,” she wrote.
Despite her apology, more than 100,000 people signed an online petition demanding Morris be fired from the network. However, she never was. During an interview on Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins’ podcast, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Morris opened up about the controversial moment. “There was so many things about it that were bad,” Morris said. “It was only my third show on MSNBC. I tripped over my words, and someone thought I said the N-word. I did not.”
Morris said her attempt to diffuse the situation was futile. “It doesn’t even matter, because you can’t convince people who don’t want to hear that. I think the hardest part about it is was most people who formed an opinion on it hadn’t even watched the show. A lot of people had heard doctored clips or things that were passed around,” she said. THR reports that Morris then said that her MSNBC colleague, anchor Ali Velshi, told her: “Any energy you waste trying to convince someone you’re not racist when you’re not racist is just wasted energy because you just can’t.”
Looking back on the ordeal she said that “it was such a hard time, because number one, I wouldn’t say it; number two, I didn’t say it; and then number three, friends and family and people who had no idea what was going on and nice people like you were like, ‘Why are these people tweeting me that you’re racist? What is going on?’ I felt so bad for everyone that just got dragged into something that was just such a mess.” She says she wanted the report to he more focused on Kobe rather than her. “I just didn’t want anyone wasting time or energy on me as a sideshow. The whole thing was so bad. … I’m not that active on social media, so I had never experienced that kind of — I guess ‘vitriol’ is the right word? I really have a new and deep appreciation for people who have gone through things like that. Because it’s real, and it’s scary, and it’s a lot harder than we realize.”
The worst of it all, Morris said, were the threats she and her family received. “They were upset, and they were afraid, and they were getting threatened. I just felt so bad that they were upset and concerned for my well-being, and that I was concerned that they were OK. … I felt badly for my family that my work had put them in that position.” Morris said this was her biggest failure in her career. “It was really hard, and it felt really awful.”