After Suspension By MSNBC, The Root Parts Ways With Dr. Jason Johnson

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Written by Ann Brown
After suspension from MSNBC last month, political commentator Dr. Jason Johnson now loses his position at Black culture website The Root. Dr. Jason Johnson attends Politicon at The Pasadena Convention Center on Aug. 30, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP)

Backlash over calling Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Black female supporters “misfits” has once again caught up with political commentator Dr. Jason Johnson. After being suspended by MSNBC where he was a paid contributor, Johnson has now been let go from the news site The Root.

Sources at The Root confirmed that Dr. Johnson is no longer employed by the site, The Daily Beast reported. “The political commentator appears to have removed the affiliation from his Twitter bio, and his contact information no longer appears on The Root’s authors page.”

Johnson had served as politics editor at The Root, which is owned by G/O Media. In addition to The Root, G/O runs Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Jezebel, The A.V. Club, The Takeout, The Onion, and The Inventory. G/O was formed in April 2019 when Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm, purchased the websites from Univision for $20.6 million.

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During a February appearance on SiriusXM’s “The Karen Hunter Show,” Johnson drew widespread backlash after claiming that “racist white liberals” support 2020 presidential candidate Sanders.

“I don’t care how many people from the island of misfit Black girls you throw out there to defend you,” he said. 

Critics called out the MSNBC contributor “for his arguably misogynist statements, with some starting the hashtag #FireJasonJohnson, which quickly went viral,” Essence reported. The cable network moved fast to suspend Johnson in the wake of the escalating pushback on social media.

Johnson admitted he was referring to Sanders’ national press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, in his comments. Later, Gray tweeted about Johnson, saying, “I hope we can have political disputes without engaging in open racism and sexism. This misogynoir is disappointing, but not surprising from (him).”

Johnson has made nearly 40 on-air appearances on MSNBC in the first two months of 2020, including post-game coverage of the several Democratic primary debates and votes.                       

He is an associate professor of politics and journalism at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism & Communication.

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