Black thought leaders request meeting with MSNBC president to discuss Tiffany Cross

"The Cross Connection" was MSNBC's highest-rated weekend show and had a viewing audience of more than 35% of Black Americans.

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Black leaders and allies are standing with Tiffany Cross following the unexpected cancellation of her weekend commentary program that has aired on MSNBC for two years.

In a letter sent to MSNBC President Rashida Jones, several Black thought leaders from the media sector and beyond praised Cross’ tenure as host of “The Cross Connection.” The program was MSNBC’s highest-rated weekend show and had a viewing audience of more than 35% of Black Americans, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Throughout her more than 20 years in media, Tiffany Cross has been a consistent light of truth,” the letter read. “Her integrity is a hallmark of her career, on which her steadfast audience has come to rely. Ms. Cross is a trusted communicator, friend, and validator to marginalized communities who too often find their voices and valuable perspectives missing from mainstream media.”

Black woman smiling -- Tiffany Cross
Tiffany Cross attends EBONY Power 100 on Oct. 29, 2022 at Milk Studios in Los Angeles. Black thought leaders have sent a letter to MSNBC president Rashida Jones after the network abruptly cut ties with Cross, the popular host of “The Cross Connection,” its two-hour Saturday morning show. (Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images for EBONY MEDIA GROUP)

MSNBC opted not to renew Cross’ contract after two years, instead canceling “The Cross Connection” and immediately cutting ties with the now-former host on Friday, Nov. 4, theGrio previously reported.

The leaders requested that Jones meet with the group before Friday (Nov. 11) to explore a course of action that restores Cross’ reputation and dignity.

They also expressed a profound disappointment over the abrupt cancellation of “The Cross Connection” and the unexpected firing of its host only four days before a “critical” midterm election.

“This decision was announced just two weeks after a targeted, racist and misogynistic strike against both Ms. Cross’ reporting and character from a known racist & anti-semite, Fox News host, Tucker Carlson,” their letter stated. “His intentional misrepresentation of her platform amounted to no less than a direct attack, and should have engendered immediate defense and support of Ms. Cross by her parent network.”

There was speculation that Cross’ relationship with MSNBC was deteriorating because of her numerous refutations of assertions of show hosts on other networks, theGrio previously reported. Both NBC News and MSNBC stated that her analysis did not meet their standards.

The leaders noted in the letter that NBC should be an unyielding force for truth and a safe haven for voices like Cross and those with whom she shared her wide-ranging and popular platform, given the evident rise of fascism and ongoing threats to democracy we currently confront.

“Instead, it appears that NBCUniversal has allowed Fox News to dictate its hiring and unwarranted firing decisions,” the letter read. “We cannot afford to be bullied by those who willingly and wantonly drag this country backwards.”

Cross, the leaders pointed out, featured advocates for voting rights while other networks featured election fraud deniers. “The Cross Connection” also highlighted justice, whereas other shows promoted misinformation.

“This season is too grave a moment in American history to silence the voices of Black Women who, time and again, save America from itself,” leaders state in the letter. “Tiffany Cross has long been one of those Black women — and her voice is needed now more than ever.”

An MSNBC spokesperson told theGrio in a statement that the network’s decision to cancel the program was not unusual, noting that “business decisions” like this happen “all the time.”

“We received a letter signed by several organizations,” the statement read. “We are proud of our long history celebrating diversity on and off air at MSNBC and throughout the News Group. This is an ongoing effort, and we’ll continue to elevate diverse perspectives and voices during this election season and beyond.”

There will be a “rotation of hosts” on “The Cross Connection” until the network finalizes programming.

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