- D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York
ESPN is facing backlash for the way it responded after one of its hosts called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.”
Jamele Hill, co-host of the hourlong program “SC6,” tweeted her views on Monday night:
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017
ESPN responded on Tuesday, saying Hill’s views did not reflect those of the company, and calling the comments “inappropriate,” without specifying why.
Critics bristled at the sports network’s statement, accusing it of not condemning Hill’s remarks about Trump strongly enough. Others echoed those sentiments, while suggesting ESPN fired other commentators – like baseball analyst Curt Schilling – for lesser offenses in the past. Fox News commentator Jesse Watters implied that Hill should think twice, saying “white men” are her “core base.”
Supporters applauded Hill, a former Detroit Free Press sports writer who joined ESPN in 2006, citing Trump’s past remarks about people living in the US illegally, and his defense of some white nationalists, and white supremacists – including remarks Trump made last month about a rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia. Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has received criticism himself for taking a knee during the national anthem, offered some encouragement.
This is only the latest of such criticism ESPN has received in the past year. As the network sought to boost more diverse voices on its air, some viewers saw those moves as a sign of an increasing “liberal bias” at the network.
As Business Insider sports editor Cork Gaines reported in May, ESPN radio host Dan Le Batard slapped away those accusations, which Le Batard said were “coming from people who are ‘bothered’ by ESPN’s attempt to offer a diversity of viewpoints.