Veteran actor Ed Asner repeatedly asked a female news anchor for a kiss on Wednesday during an MSNBC segment about Hollywood reactions to the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations.
The bizarre moment happened after anchor Chris Jansing introduced Asner to viewers as someone "who helped demonstrate the changing culture of independent women in the workplace for millions of Americans each week" due to his work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
"Not even a kiss?" the actor said.
"No, nothing, right?" Jansing replied.
"Oh my god," Asner said.
As Jansing questioned Asner on his views on the Weinstein saga, the actor replied, "I think the offenders have to be punished. I'm sure I've been guilty at times of using my overpowering masculinity to beg for kisses. I did when I opened this the conversation with you, but I know better than to push it, and Harvey Weinstein, I guess, didn't know when to stop."
"There's a lot of that droll humor in this book," Jansing replied, transitioning to the topic of Asner's new book.
At the end of the interview, Jansing thanked the actor for his time, to which he replied, "You still owe me a kiss."
"Ok, you're going to get yourself in trouble and with good reason," Jansing said after laughing.
"No, no, no. I'm not a job procurer," Asner replied.
An MSNBC spokesperson didn't immediately have a comment, but some of the network's producers tweeted about Asner's comments.
Viewers watching the interview also took to Twitter to express their anger at Asner's behavior.
Others found the moment very awkward or confusing.
But some said Asner was simply joking around.
Asked about the comment, a representative for Asner would only say: "Ed enjoys speaking to MSNBC anchors and all other network anchors."
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact David Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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