ESPN's Jemele Hill doubles down on anti-Trump rhetoric: 'I don't take it back'
ESPN anchor Jemele Hill has doubled down on her belief that President Trump is a “white supremacist,” saying, “I don’t take it back,” when asked about her controversial remark on former NFL star Arian Foster’s “Now What?” podcast on Wednesday.
“I thought everybody knew; I thought, you know, I was saying water was wet,” Hill recounted as she laughed. “I didn’t think I was saying anything that was shocking.”
Hill wasn’t initially suspended when she labeled Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter earlier this year. But ESPN sidelined her for two weeks in October when she violated the company’s social media guidelines a second time by calling on fans to boycott the Dallas Cowboys’ advertisers after owner Jerry Jones told players they would be benched if they didn't stand up during the national anthem.
“I thought everybody knew; I thought, you know, I was saying water was wet.”
Foster called Hill “the target of a sitting president” because Trump responded to her original comments by mocking her network’s low ratings on Twitter. The ESPN host laughed and said that getting a reaction from the president would be in her obituary.
The “SportsCenter” star blamed media members who accuse ESPN of being too liberal for combing through her Twitter replies, looking for anti-Trump comments that would quickly became national news.
“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists,” Hill wrote on Sept 11. She called him “the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.”
Hill also called Trump a “bigot,” and “unqualified and unfit to be president.” And she added, “If he were not white, he never would have been elected.”
Hill, an outspoken liberal, admitted in October that she cried in a meeting because her comments made “ESPN become a punching bag,” but she doesn’t regret what was said.
“I said what I said and I don’t take it back,” Hill told Foster, who asked, “No retraction?”
“No, I never have and I never will,” Hill fired back.
Hill’s original tweets caught the attention of the White House and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who said she considered the rhetoric a “fireable offense.”
Foster offered his unsolicited opinion of Sanders during his conversation with Hill. “She’s so trash, I’m going to say it for you, she’s so trashy,” Foster said.
Hill didn’t jump on Foster’s derogatory comments about Sanders. And the conversation shifted to Trump’s frequent attacks on journalists via social media.
“And they’re mostly colored people,” Foster said. “There is definitely a trend.”
But Trump has in recent months taken on media members of all races, including MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” duo of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; CNN’s Jim Acosta, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker; a variety of NBC News executives; and Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel.
Once Hill’s episode of Foster’s podcast went live, the ESPN anchor took to Twitter once again.
“This was such a dope conversation,” she wrote.
ESPN declined comment.