MSNBC reporter told “don’t look too Latina” at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Mariana Atencio was reportedly advised to “Think Ivanka Trump” by her manager.

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2018 Telemundo Upfront

Maria Atencio, photographed at the 2018 Telemundo Upfront, was reportedly told by a manager at MSNBC to not dress “too Latina” for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images

An MSNBC reporter says a higher-up at the company told her to not “look too Latina” at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

In her book “Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real,” Venezuela-born Mariana Atencio recounts the 2017 incident, according to NBC News and Newsweek.

The outlets report that Atencio claims she received a phone call from a female manager (who remains unnamed) asking her what she planned to wear to the dinner. 

“It was a weird phone call – with an even weirder request,” Atencio writes. “‘Why do you ask?’ I replied. ‘Please don’t look too Latina.’ At first I thought I didn’t hear correctly. ‘I beg your pardon?’ I asked. ‘When you pick your outfit, I mean. Don’t look too Latina.’”

The manager allegedly didn’t stop there with her unsolicited fashion advice.

“‘Why don’t you go to Saks Fifth Avenue and have someone help you out,’” Antencio recalls. “‘Have them pick out something demure. Not too colorful or tight. Think Ivanka Trump, OK?’”

MSNBC called the manager’s comments “highly inappropriate and unacceptable” in a statement to USA TODAY. 

“More than a year and a half later, when it was first brought to a manager’s attention, immediate action was taken,” the statement continued. “Since this is an HR matter and there are privacy concerns, we won’t go into greater detail.”

In an interview with NBC News, Atencio said she didn’t include the story to focus on the negative, but instead, “to remind readers that these things still happen.”

“We have to call them out and have conversations as adults about how to get past them,” she said.


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