In her first public comments since MSNBC announced Friday it was canceling her weekend show, Tiffany Cross questioned the timing and the reasoning behind the decision.
“I am disheartened to learn of MSNBC’s decision to cancel my show, The Cross Connection, at such a crucial time — four days before the midterm elections,” Cross said in a statement posted to social media. “From the beginning, we were intentional about centering communities of color, elevating issues and voices often ignored by the mainstream media, and disrupting the echo chambers.”
She noted that ratings were likely not a factor, adding: “Viewers consistently made The Cross Connection MSNBC’s highest rated weekend show.”
The progressive political and cultural commentary show aired Saturdays from 10 a.m. ET to 12 p.m. ET. It welcomed thought leaders, influencers and journalists to discuss news affecting communities of color and averaged more than 500,000 viewers per episode, according to Nielsen data.
Related Story: MSNBC Drops Weekend Host Tiffany Cross After Nearly Two Years
But Cross was a frequent target of right-wing media personalities, including Tucker Carlson and Megyn Kelly. Just last month, Carlson accused her of “spewing hateful and racist takes” on white people and questioned why she still had a job.
Cross, who is often described as outspoken, referenced the “backlash” in her statement.
“Fresh off the heels of a ‘racial reckoning,’ as so many have called it, we see that with progress there is always backlash,” she said. “Now is not the time to retreat to politics or journalism as usual.”
— @tiffanydcross (@TiffanyDCross) November 5, 2022
The Cross Connection launched in December 2020, and was part of an effort by MSNBC to bring diverse voices to the network.
The sudden announcement that the program was ending production led to speculation that Cross had angered network executives.
Variety reported Friday that her relationship with MSNBC and NBC News brass became “frayed” after execs expressed concerns about Cross’ on-air statements regarding conservative hosts on other networks.
On Saturday, several prominent Black voices criticized the decision to take Cross off the air. Among the critics was The Nation correspondent and MSNBC contributor Eli Mystal.
“Telling the truth about white people to white people can exact a terrible price on one’s career and opportunities,” Mystal wrote in a tweet thread. “Tiffany was special because she proactively centered her work and her voice in nonwhite audiences. It’s not that she didn’t care what white people thought. It’s that she refused to bend her voice around those forces. She was willing to pay the price to uplift nonwhite voices.”
Actor and literacy advocate LeVar Burton also voiced support for Cross.
“Dear @TiffanyDCross. You are and will continue to be a bright light in the enveloping gloom. The next step on your destiny path is about to reveal itself. Take a deep breath and know that that is the exhalation of all doubt as to your purpose. The ancestors see you. So do we all!” Burton tweeted.
Saturday Night Live alum Leslie Jones added on Twitter, “Now @MSNBC y’all know you ain’t shit for this one!! Real talk! @TiffanyDCross
Meanwhile, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann criticized NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde and NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell for the decision.
“This is @nbcnews chairman @cesarconde_ offering a sacrifice to the right wing mob. @FoxNews complained to NBC management about Cross quoting them – so out she goes. My old friend Jeff Shell has run @msnbc into the ground,” Olbermann tweeted.
Cross said in her statement she will continue to amplify issues affecting the Black community.
“While this journey ended abruptly, surprising many of us, my work is not done,” she said. “Political violence is increasing and it’s becoming inherently more dangerous to speak the truth. But, after more than 20 years in journalism, I will not stop. The attacks on me from other outlets and former hosts will never control my narrative.”
She ended by vowing, “See you soon!”