“The more I’ve sat here and listened to the fact that somebody used the N-word on this show — it is not OK. It is not OK, Charles Kaiser.”
So said Brooke Baldwin during Tuesday’s episode of “CNN Newsroom,” punctuating a jaw-dropping moment that featured a live guest’s use of a racial slur.
Kaiser, a noted author and blogger, had used the word moments earlier during a diatribe condemning Steve Bannon, President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial pick as chief White House strategist. But Baldwin cut him off soon thereafter, making it entirely clear that such language would never be deemed appropriate on her program.
“Charles… just hang on a second,” she said. “Please don’t use the N-word on my show.”
Kaiser then tried to explain his reasoning and choice of terminology.
“I never use the N-word except when I’m quoting someone who’s been appointed by the President to serve in the Oval Office,” he said.
For Baldwin, however, no explanation could validate such language.
Visibly affected by the moment, she ended the segment abruptly, further addressing the utterance of a word that is almost universally loathed.
“We’re done,” she announced, waving both hands.
While fighting back tears, Baldwin responded to her guest’s accusation against Bannon before sending viewers to a commercial.
“The claim that Mr. Bannon used the N-word, I’ve never heard of this, so there’s that,” clarified Baldwin, before looking down and adding simply, “Take a break.”
Kaiser later apologized in a message to CNN.
“In the heat of the moment, I said the word n—– on CNN. What’s worse, I think, is that I attributed its use to Bannon, rather than Sessions, which was a mistake,” he said, referring to Trump’s choice for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
“I apologize to all those who were offended by my use of the word. But there is also a part of me that believes that you cannot convey the true horror of these early Trump appointments without using the actual words attributed to them. “