Wednesday, September 13, 2017
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — ESPN distanced itself from anchor Jemele Hill's tweets after she called President Donald Trump "a white supremacist" and "a bigot."
"The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the president do not represent the position of ESPN," the network tweeted Tuesday from its public relations department's account. "We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate."
On Monday night, in a series of exchanges with other Twitter users, Hill said, "Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists."
Hill, an African-American co-host of the 6 p.m. broadcast of "SportsCenter," also added that "Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period."
In another tweet, she said, "Donald Trump is a bigot," and went on to criticize his supporters, adding "The height of white privilege is being able to ignore his white supremacy, because it's of no threat to you. Well, it's a threat to me."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a news conference on Wednesday that she was unsure whether the president was aware of Hill's comments.
"But I think that's one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make, and certainly something that I think is a fire-able offense by ESPN," Sanders said.
Disney-owned ESPN did not elaborate on any possible punishment for Hill, and she was on Tuesday evening's "SportsCenter" broadcast as usual.
While many Twitter users called for Hill to be fired, unemployed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick expressed his support, tweeting "We are with you @jemelehill."
Kaepernick, who remains unsigned after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers, received plenty of criticism — and support — after kneeling during the national anthem before games last season to protest police brutality.
Three weeks ago, ESPN said it pulled broadcaster Robert Lee, who is Asian-American, from the Virginia football season opener because of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The violence erupted at a rally to protest the decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
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