MSNBC has apologized for a segment that aired on Monday for Cinco de Mayo that offended at least one Hispanic group. The incident took place on the network’s early morning show Way Too Early with host Thomas Roberts and producer Louis Burgdorf.
Before wrapping up the show, as Roberts was explaining the history of Cinco de Mayo, Burgdorf repeatedly walked in front of the camera wearing a sombrero, downing tequila, and shaking a maraca. Burgdorf had been donning the sombrero throughout most of the 30-minute show.
“It’s also an excuse to drink tequila on a Monday morning at work for Louis,” Roberts said after explaining the holiday’s history. “You have to drink the whole thing and eat the worm,” he later challenged Burgdorf.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists denounced MSNBC’s “capricious actions, lack of judgment, insensitivity and attack at the Mexican community.”
“This is simply the worst example I have seen of a discriminatory stereotypical portrayal of any community by any media,” said the organization’s president Hugo Balta. “The fact that this was done by a news organization is abominable. It feeds to the ignorant misconceptions of a rich and proud people who unfortunately are too often portrayed as caricatures to be scoffed at.”
MSNBC has since apologized for its “ill-advised references” to the holiday, saying, “It was not our intention to be disrespectful.”