MSNBC is under fire for firing Tiffany Cross as the network’s biggest stars have taken heat from former colleague Keith Olbermann for not defending the now-former "Cross Connection" host.
MSNBC dumped the contentious weekend host on Friday, declining to renew her contract after two controversial years that resulted in Cross causing a variety of headaches for MSNBC executives. A source close to the situation told Fox News Digital that Cross showed "repeated bad behavior on and off-air," including over-the-top rhetoric. Conservatives and Republicans were the target of the majority of Cross’ disparaging comments, but many of her biggest fans don’t seem to care about the "bad judgment" that resulted in MSNBC showing her the door.
Olbermann blasted his former network, saying MSNBC’s "most outspoken and most probably its bravest host" was fired on the eve of "an election crucial to the safeguarding of democracy in this nation" but none of her most-high profile colleagues seem to care.
"Where is the statement of protest about the firing of Tiffany Cross from Lawrence O’Donnell? Where is the anger from Chris Hayes? Where is the condemnation of a women’s voice silenced from Alex Wagner? Where is the threat to walk out, to boycott, to quit, to stand on principal from Rachel Maddow? Whatever happens in the voting tomorrow, remember at all times that you and I do not have a true friend or an ally at MSNBC, at CNN, at CBS, at ABC. We have television performers who will make sure they are seen in the easy fights," Olbermann said. "But when it is bad, who will draw a line and fight and protect one thing and one thing alone – they’re paychecks."
Olbermann continued to trash "caged, declawed, gutless" MSNBC personalities who haven’t defended Cross and network executives who decided she was too much trouble.
"In throwing out Tiffany Cross, they’re not only silencing a valuable voice who might have become an essentially one, but they’re warning everybody else on the air at MSNBC… We fired her and we leaked it to the Washington Post that she was fired by another African-American woman, in large part because she was controversial.' And NBC Universal cannot have controversial right now because, you know, fascists also buy Comcast cable packages,’" Olbermann said, referring to MSNBC president Rashida Jones.
Olbermann said the current stable of MSNBC stars "could be next" if they dare to say anything that management deems problematic. "You have now heard the responses of Maddow and Hayes and O’Donnell – silence," Olbermann said.
Olbermann then read a list of some of Cross’ most polarizing comments, such as saying Florida should be "castrated" from the rest of the country and referring to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as "Justice Pubic Hair on My Coke Can," and declared he would have been proud to come up with any of her zingers.
"They are not just incisive and wounding and well crafted, and directed at the scum of the earth… but they have the added benefit of having been true," Olbermann said.
Olbermann said he wasn’t surprised O’Donnell kept his mouth shut because he is a "snake," but said he was "mystified" Hayes and Maddow have been silent because they have gone to bat for colleagues in the past. Olbermann notably didn’t mention MSNBC host Joy Reid, who declared her support for Cross. Reid, who has a long history of rhetoric similar to what landed Cross in hot water, closed her show on Friday by addressing her friend’s ousting.
"Before I go, I really do just want to say one quick thing about my friend, colleague and sister Tiffany Cross," an emotional Reid began. "She's not just my friend, she's my sister. I love her, I support her, I was boosting for her to get the show that she created, ‘The Cross Connection,’ which she put her heart and soul into every day."
Olbermann noted Reid addressed the situation.
"I wish it had been more, but compared to what the other hosts did not say, she is on the Mount Rushmore of putting yourself at just a little risk to defend what is right," Olbermann said.
While Maddow, Hayes and O'Donnell have stayed silent, Olbermann and Reid are hardly the only people who have defended Cross since she was axed by MSNBC.
Black leaders are also reportedly irked and Semafor reported Monday that "African-American political leaders are demanding a meeting" with MSNBC.
"We are deeply disappointed in the abrupt cancellation of the Cross Connection and the unexpected ouster of its host, just four days before a critical midterm election," a letter sent to Jones said, according to Semafor.
Far-left, former ESPN host Jemele Hill tweeted that she was "outraged" at the decision.
"To make this move a few days before the critical mid-terms is just unacceptable. There is a larger issue of strong Black pundits, especially women, lacking the internal support to thrive," Hll wrote. "Supporting strong Black voices is not for the weak. Too often that support goes missing as soon as it becomes too threatening to the entrenched hierarchy. Tiffany is excellent at her job. I know she’ll shine brighter. But what MSNBC has done is absolutely cowardly and shameful."
When the former "Cross Connection" namesake tweeted a statement that she was "disheartened" by her firing" many responded with uplifting messages.
"Your voice will always be relevant. And if there’s one thing I know about you, it’s that you’ll continue to speak truth to power. I will miss you," MSNBC host Katie Phang responded.
The Palmer Report replied with a heart emoji, former NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said she would "find and support" Cross at her next platform, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund president Janai Nelson thanked Cross for "helping to redefine journalistic responsibility in these turbulent times," and an assortment of MSNBC viewers also expressed outrage.
"MSNBC made a big mistake," one person responded while another added, "I have no reason to watch on weekends anymore. Just so upsetting."
Far-left actor John Cusack wrote, "MSNBC - should adresss [sic] the firing of cross - whom had the guts to call out fascism - was fired for being 'controversial.'"
Liberal journalist Grant Stern asked, "Why is MSNBC firing Tiffany Cross right before the election?"
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump wrote, "MSNBC needs to explain why they decided to part ways with The Cross Connection’s host Tiffany Cross — an extremely smart and insightful Black woman. Tiffany has been a beacon of diversity at MSNBC and the Black community deserves to know why one of their voices has been let go!"
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.