Former ESPN host Jemele Hill deleted a tweet in which, describing what a Democratic lawmaker should say at President Trump's State of the Union address, she jokingly referenced a phrase uttered by an assassin before Malcolm X was gunned down in 1965.
It all started when Showtime’s Desus Nice tweeted that he would like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to interrupt Trump’s speech by yelling, “Whose mans is this?”
Hill, who famously called Trump a “white supremacist” in 2017 before her exit from ESPN, is now a writer for The Atlantic. She responded to Nice with her own vision fof what the freshman lawmaker should shout.
“Nah, she gotta yell: GETCHO HAND OUT MY POCKET,” Hill tweeted.
While not everyone picked up on Hill’s comment, some history buffs realized it was a reference to assassination.
“That statement is a reference to what one of Malcolm X’s assassins yelled out before they killed the 1960s civil rights leader,” NewsBusters’ deputy research director Geoffrey Dickens wrote.
Hill deleted the tweet after NewsBusters and other critics put a spotlight on it, but the media watchdog site published an image of the anti-Trump message.
On Wednesday evening, Hill apologized and tried to explain. “When I tweeted 'GETCHO HAND OUT MY POCKET,' in no way was I suggesting any physical harm to the president. I have used this phrase many times in my Twitter history, always in lighthearted ways, and removed from the context of the movie,” she tweeted.
Hill also wrote: “I have often disagreed with many of the president’s policies, his behavior and rhetoric, but I would never call for violence against him, or any person. I apologize for breathing life into such an absurd assumption.”
The Atlantic did not immediately respond when asked for comment.
“The joke here is that AOC should have participated in the assassination of the president,” Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold tweeted.
Radio host and author Clay Travis wrote, “So Jemele Hill has moved on from calling the president a white supremacist to now rooting for him to be assassinated during the state of the union. Yikes.”
When Hill called Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter, it illuminated many critics say is a liberal bias at ESPN. She also called Trump a “bigot” who is "unqualified and unfit to be president.” The now-former ESPN star’s comments back inb 2017 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 initially declined to punish her for the tweet but then sidelined her for two weeks in October 2017, after she violated the company’s social media guidelines again. The second violation occurred when she called on fans to boycott the Dallas Cowboys’ advertisers after owner Jerry Jones told players they would be benched if they did not stand up during the national anthem.
Not long after returning from that suspension, ESPN reassigned Hill from its flagship “SportsCenter” to a role at The Undefeated, the company’s site that covers the intersections of sports and race. She left ESPN last September after months of speculation.
“The time has come for me to begin a new chapter in my life,” Hill tweeted before singling out a group of people she wanted to thank, including former ESPN president John Skipper — who left the network in 2017 when a drug dealer attempted to extort him by using his cocaine habit against him.
Hill joined The Atlantic shortly after her exit from ESPN.