Courtney Hazlett, MSNBC Talking Head, Calls Spike Lee "Uppity"

12/09/2009 01:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Danny Shea Huffington Post

UPDATE 4:19 PM EDT: MSNBC.com has just released the following statement from Courtney Hazlett:

"Today on 'Morning Joe' I chose my words poorly in describing the relationship between Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee. I take my responsibilities as a journalist seriously and know that words can have a strong impact. I sincerely apologize to Spike Lee and to the viewers for my comments."

Original Post: On Friday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC gossip "reporter" Courtney Hazlett used a insulting — and perceived by many to be racist — word in describing the Spike Lee-Clint Eastwood feud that began last month in Cannes. Introducing today's developments, in which Eastwood smacked Lee down with a "shut your face," Hazlett described how the feud began:

"During the Cannes Film Festival...Spike Lee got really uppity about Clint Eastwood and about how there were no African Americans involved in the filming of 'Flags of our Fathers' or 'Letters from Iwo Jima.'"

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While the literal definition of "uppity" is "taking liberties or assuming airs beyond one's station," it is largely seen to have a racist connotation when applied to African Americans (witness the 2007 outcry after Salon labeled Obama "uppity" and then quickly swapped the word out for "smug").

Courtney Hazlett pens a column called "The Scoop" for msnbc.com, generally a mishmash of other people's day-old reporting couched as her own. For example, today she "reports" on an OK! Magazine story, an In Touch story and a Us Weekly story (which hit newsstands Wednesday) before rehashing this weekend's new releases. She frequently appears at the end of "Morning Joe" reporting others' entertainment stories.

Gawker labeled Hazlett's use of the word uppity a "VideoUhOh"

This isn't Hazlett's first faux pas. Less than an hour after news of Heath Ledger's death broke, Hazlett was on air calling Owen Wilson's suicide attempt a "dress rehearsal" for Ledger's death. Ledger's death was later ruled an accident.