While attempting to record MSNBC’s The Last Word episode for August 29, host Lawrence O’Donnell experienced more than eight minutes of technical difficulties that caused the liberal anchor of the weeknight program to lose his temper, shout obscenities and scream at his staff.
That video was anonymously leaked to Mediaite on September 20 and quickly went viral. However, on Monday, NBC executives were reported to have tracked down the male editor for the network’s Today weekday morning program who sent the segment and immediately fired him.
In an article on the New York Post's Page Six website, Emily Smith reported that one source stated the leaker “said he did it because he thought it was funny. But it wasn’t exactly the perfect crime -- he left a very clear trail.”
The video “was slipped to Mediaite as a broadcast-quality digital clip -- and that only a handful of people are believed to be capable of accessing and transmitting such a file,” Smith stated.
The leaker’s identity has not been released, she continued, while both NBC executives and O’Donnell have so far declined to comment on the incident.
Lasting more than eight minutes, the video is a collection of clips from one evening and shows the MSNBC anchor began running into turbulence after he introduced a clip about President Donald Trump: “Well, today President Trump visited Texas, but he forgot to bring any empathy with him, but he did bring a hat, a hat that is for sale.”
O’Donnell then paused, and a sudden flush of anger covered his face before he declared:
What’s going on? Why am I losing this? Why don’t I have sound? Alright, it’s back. Someone’s pressing buttons and turning my sound off. Who’s asking for a Labor Day rundown in my ear?
Someone in that control room is out of control.
“Goddammit,” he stated before bursting into a brief spasm of fury and slamming his fists on the desk.
Eventually, he continued: “So the president went to Texas today, and as Politico reports, he did not meet a single storm victim, see an inch of rain or get near a flooded street.”
The anchor asserted that the president of the United States visited “a horrific disaster and tragedy."
After another pause, O’Donnell continued: “If you think the president’s language was a little too celebratory about the sudden fame that can happen to people during hurricane coverage, a fame no one should welcome.”
“One of the deaths in Houston that was ignored by President Trump is Police Sergeant Steve Perez, who had been missing since Sunday morning,” he added.
“You have insanity in my earpiece,” O’Donnell grumbled as a person came up behind him in an apparent attempt to fix the problem.
“Leave it there,” the host demanded. “It’s not my earpiece. It’s somebody talking on our lines.”
After he whispered “F**k,” O’Donnell tried to move on.
“President Trump did not mention Sergeant Perez today, and he has not tweeted about people in shelters across Texas tonight.”
After introducing a video, O’Donnell complained that “there’s a woman talking in my ear about something that has nothing to do with what we’re doing here.”
It wasn’t long before the host declared: “Stop the hammering!” He then stood up and shouted:
Stop the hammering up there! Who’s got a hammer? Where is it? Where’s the hammer? Go up on the other floor! Somebody go up there and stop the hammering! Stop the hammering! I’ll go down to the goddamned floor myself and stop it!
Keep the goddamned commercial break going! Call f**king Phil Griffin [the president of MSNBC]! I don’t care who the f**k you have to call! Stop the hammering! Empty out the goddamned control room and find out where this is going on! It’s either there … or out there somewhere!
“The woman in my ear was talking about the Labor Day special repeatedly,” O’Donnell added. “F**king out-of-control s**t!”
After leading into the following segment, the liberal host declared “Jesus Christ” as he threw a pen off his desk. “Crazy f**king sound coming in my ear, this f**king stupid hammering.”
“It just f**king sucks,” O’Donnell stated while staring down at his desk. “It f**king sucks to be out here with this out-of-control s**t! Any f**king thing can come into my ear at any moment. That’s what I know.”
The host later apologized for his outbursts by tweeting: “A better anchorman and a better person would've had a better reaction to technical difficulties. I'm sorry.”
Of course, everybody has a bad day now and then, but airing that out for the whole world to see is a very bad idea, whether or not someone thinks it’s funny.