Conservative commentator Candace Owens challenged ESPN star Jemele Hill to a debate on racism after accusing the former “SportsCenter” anchor of being used by Democrats to “paralyze blacks with undue fear” through rhetoric during a spat on Twitter.
It all started after Hill quoted a CNN tweet about anti-gun protesters shutting down part of a highway in Chicago. Hill wrote an all-caps caption, “BUT WHAT ABOUT CHICAGO?”
Hill then responded to critics by adding that black people “just hate racism.”
“That’s it. And really that’s the only reason we’ve been labeled as liberal. Some people have turned racism into a political issue when it’s a moral one,” Hill said.
The outspoken Owens – who has been praised by both President Trump and Kanye West – then chimed in.
“All people hate racism, Jemele,” Owens wrote. “Haven’t met a single white person that loves being called a cracker, or a Spanish person that prefers being referred to as a sp*c.”
Owens, also the communications director for Turning Point USA, added, “I’m young though, so there’s still time.”
Hill fired back, “With all due respect, all people do not hate racism.”
The ESPN personality, who once made headlines for calling President Trump a white supremacist, then defended why she feels some people don’t mind racism.
“Racism is profitable and worse, comfortable. Showing a disdain for slurs is about appearing polite. I’ll be far more impressed when that energy is used to dismantle systems created to crush marginalized peoples,” Hill wrote.
Owens responded by challenging Hill to a debate on the topic.
“Racism is definitely profitable—on that we agree. It’s why Dems use people like you to continually speak about it,” Owens wrote. “The goal is to paralyze blacks with undue fear, keeping us enslaved to ideologies that continue to fail us.”
“The goal is to paralyze blacks with undue fear, keeping us enslaved to ideologies that continue to fail us.”
Owens added that she would “love to discuss” the topic with Hill on “The Rubin Report,” which bills itself as the largest talk show about free speech and big ideas on YouTube. Owens sent a follow-up tweet, telling Hill she meant the challenge respectfully.
“If you truly believe what you believe, and your goal is to educate— then the greatest thing that we can do is to respectfully debate so that the many people that follow us can understand the source of our perspectives,” Owens wrote.
Through a spokesperson, Owens told Fox News that Hill has not responded to her request. Neither ESPN nor “The Rubin Report” immediately responded to Fox News' requests for comment.
When Hill was asked by a user if she would take Owens up on her offer to debate, she sent the following message: “I find it so strange that people make these kinds of requests often. Is this pay-per-view? The implication is that anybody tagged in this has to validate their viewpoint.”
Owens fired back: “This seems like a long-winded way to admit that you don’t possess the intellect to back up your assertions. This seems to be the case for all people that chirp the loudest about how racist America is. I wonder why.”
Owens is an outspoken supporter of President Trump who frequently makes appearances on conservative media, while Hill has made news with her public disdain for the president.
In September 2017, Hill tweeted, “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists.” Hill also called Trump a “bigot” and “unqualified and unfit to be president.” She added, “If he were not white, he never would have been elected.”
Hill’s anti-Trump comments caught the attention of the White House and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who said she considered the rhetoric a “fireable offense.” Trump even got involved himself, mocking Hill and ESPN’s lackluster ratings.
ESPN re-assigned Hill from its flagship “SportsCenter” earlier this year to a new role at The Undefeated, the company’s site that covers the intersections of sports and race. ESPN has said the move was Hill’s choice, but sports talk radio host Clay Travis tweeted that she was “booted” due to “collapsing ratings.”