White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said ESPN would be justified in firing the anchor who called President Trump and his supporters “white supremacists.”
“I’m not sure if he’s aware of it, but 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,” Mrs. Sanders said when asked about the comments at Wednesday’s press briefing.
ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, who co-hosts “SC6” with Michael Smith, denounced Mr. Trump in a series of tweets on Monday, calling him a “white supremacist” and the “most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.” She also said the president has “surrounded himself with white supremacists” and that his election is a “direct result of white supremacy.”
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017
Mrs. Sanders rebutted those accusations, saying the president has a track record of working with leaders in the African American community, including Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican.
“He’s committed to working with them to bring the country together,” Mrs. Sanders said of the president. “I think that’s where we need to be focused, not on outrageous statements like that one.”
ESPN did not take disciplinary action against Ms. Hill, but distanced itself from her remarks in a statement Tuesday.
“The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN,” the network said. “We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”
Her tweets have not been deleted as of Wednesday afternoon.
Some progressives took issue with ESPN’s refusal to stand by Ms. Hill and her denunciations of the president.
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick tweeted in support of the embattled anchor on Tuesday.
We are with you @jemelehill ✊🏾— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 13, 2017
Meanwhile, conservatives say the lack of disciplinary action is evidence of a double standard when employees at ESPN make inflammatory political comments.
Former ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling, for instance, was fired by the network last year when he ridiculed the transgender movement’s bid to regulate restrooms and changing rooms on the basis of gender identity, rather than biological sex.
He was previously suspended for comparing radical Islam to Nazism.
The network also pulled the song “Are you ready for some football?” from “Monday Night Football” broadcasts in 2011 after country singer Hank Williams Jr. compared then-President Obama to Adolf Hitler.
Clay Travis, founder of Outkick the Coverage, reports that ESPN recently suspended longtime anchor Linda Cohn, after she said the network talks too much about politics, and not enough about sports.
Sources: After Linda Cohn spoke out on politics @ESPN she was told by prez John Skipper not to come to work & to think about what she said.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) September 13, 2017
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