ESPN Host Assailed for Calling Trump 'White Supremacist'

White House says 'SportsCenter' host Jemele Hill's comments are a 'fireable offense'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2017 2:03 AM CDT
Updated Sep 14, 2017 6:54 AM CDT
WH Calls ESPN Host's Trump Comments a 'Fireable Offense'
This is a Feb. 3, 2017, file photo showing Jemele Hill.   (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

An ESPN host who tweeted about President Trump is finding herself in the White House's crosshairs, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling the comments a "fireable offense," per CNN. The offending tweet by SportsCenter host Jemele Hill, which she posted Monday: "Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists." She first got pushback on her own Twitter feed, where she doubled down and called Trump an "unfit, bigoted, incompetent moron." Piling on next was ESPN, which issued a statement the next day stating Hill's actions were "inappropriate" and that her remarks on Trump "do not represent the position of ESPN." All of which has led to an online firestorm, with many Trump supporters agreeing with what CNN calls the "highly unusual" White House move to appear to recommend that a Trump critic on a TV network be fired.

Others, however—including the National Association of Black Journalists, ESPN co-workers, and other journalists who are posting their own statements on Trump in solidarity—are rushing to the defense of Hill, saying she only spoke the truth and that her comments are protected by the First Amendment. Some note that similar commentary on Trump in the journalism world hasn't been blasted, saying that Hill being black has made her a target. Hill addressed the "elephant in the room" once more late Wednesday on Twitter, posting a short statement that explained what she'd stated were her "personal beliefs" and that her "regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light." She added her respect for ESPN and her co-workers "remains unconditional." (The New York Times touches on accusations that ESPN has become too "politically correct.")

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