Entertainment

Posted: September 14, 2017

Jemele Hill addresses Trump tweet, Colin Kaepernick, NABJ, issue support


By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

ESPN host Jemele Hill has addressed her comments on Twitter Monday in which she called President Donald Trump a white supremacist. Hill said that her tweets expressed her personal views and that she regrets ESPN being brought into the issue.

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In a statement posted on Twitter Wednesday, the 6 p.m. SportsCenter co-host said: “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs. My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”

Related: ESPN apologizes after Jemele Hill calls Trump a ‘white supremacist’

Hill was replying to a thread of comments on Twitter Monday, in which she said in part: “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists. 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.”

On Tuesday, ESPN said Hill’s comments don’t represent the company.

“The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN,” the statement said. “We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”

Hill’s tweets prompted White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, when asked about the host’s remarks during a news briefing Wednesday, to say it’s a “fireable offense.”

Related: White House: ESPN host Jemele Hill's anti-Trump tweets are a ‘fireable offense’

“I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN,” she said.

Colin Kaepernick, no stranger to speaking out about racism and equality, tweeted support for Hill Tuesday. 

“We are with you,” he wrote.

Before making a statement, Hill tweeted a photo of herself with members of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Sports Task Force, thanking them for checking up on her.

“Jemele Hill is an award-winning, veteran journalist who has distinguished herself for having insightful opinions and perspectives on a variety of topics,” NABJ said in a Wednesday statement. Having been successful along those lines for 20 years, she has been able to connect with viewers on ESPN as well as on various social media platforms. 

“That withstanding, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) supports Hill's First Amendment rights on all matters of discussion, within and outside the world of sports, as they do not impinge on her duties as a host and commentator.”

After Hill’s statement addressing her tweets, CNN reported that ESPN issued a follow-up statement Thursday, saying, “Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on behalf of ESPN. She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology.”

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