CNBC’s Jim Cramer apologized Tuesday after critics derided his use of the epithet “Crazy Nancy” during an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a relatively rare example of the business-news outlet’s on-air personnel getting mixed up in news-cycle politics.
Cramer was questioning Pelosi about negotiations for new coronavirus relief, and appeared to use the “Crazy Nancy” phrase in describing the White House position. But he quickly realized he had blundered. “I’m sorry. I — that was the president. I have such reverence for the office, I would never use that term,” Cramer said, immediately after using it. “But you just did,” Pelosi responded. Cramer then continued on with the interview.
Detractors on Twitter called him to account, prompting him to address the issue. “When you criticize the president by mentioning what he calls the Speaker of the House, you should not be criticized for mentioning the terrible name he calls her,” he said via the social-media platform.
Later on in the day, during a broadcast of his regular evening program, “Mad Money,” Cramer was more contrite. “I made a very stupid comment. It was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to make a point about the harsh tone about the negotiations in Washington but it fell completely flat and I apologize for that,” he said.
Time’s Up, the advocacy organization that works to eliminate gender discrimination in the workplace, said in a statement that Cramer’s words were harmful, no matter the intent behind them. “Whether @JimCramer meant to insult Nancy Pelosi or simply refer to Trump’s disparaging attacks, the harmful effects are the same. We’re calling on journalists to stop circulating sexist labels that betray women’s skills, insights, & lived experiences as leaders,” the group said.
TV anchors and commentators have come under intense scrutiny in recent years, with clips of their on-air performance often pulled out for display on social media. CNBC, remarkably, has often stayed out of that fray, perhaps owing to its focus on the stock market.
But there are occasions when even a business reporter can be put under the microscope. Critics took umbrage at the network’s handling of a 2015 Republican primary debate where moderators’ questions spurred pushback from some of the candidates. More recently, two of CNBC’s most popular anchors, Andrew Ross Sorkin and Joe Kernen, got into a heated discussion on air about the White House’s reaction to the coronavirus.