A new report coming from ThinkProgress is claiming that ESPN was ready to replace Jemele Hill after her anti-Trump comments, as she previously called the 45th United States President “a white supremacist.” Not only that, but this new report, written by Lindsay Gibbs, is now claiming that ESPN was specifically looking to replace Hill for the night with another “black” host.
As the story goes, no other black sports commentator agreed to fill the role. ESPN also allegedly wanted to replace co-host Michael Smith for the night with another black person to fill the role. But since they were only left with white hosts, they allegedly decided to let it ride and keep both original hosts on board for the night. However, ESPN is denying these claims and are refuting all allegations that suggest that they’ve asked any other anchors to fill in the roles of Hill or Smith.
Our statement: "We never asked any other anchors to do last night’s show. Period.” https://t.co/EJhnjbr7yq
— Chris LaPlaca (@espn_chris) September 14, 2017
The statement from ESPN reads, “We never asked any other anchors to do last night’s show. Period.”
Here’s a look into the report from ThinkProgress, to see both sides of the story….
Via Think Progress
Hill — who was caught in the middle of a firestorm of controversy that began on Monday night when she tweeted that President Donald Trump was a white supremacist, which escalated when ESPN issued a statement on Tuesday reprimanding her comments and which exploded when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Hill’s tweets were a “fireable offense” — was calm and composed throughout the hour, and the show went on as usual.
However, two sources familiar with the situation told ThinkProgress that this was not the original plan.
ESPN originally tried to keep Hill off the air on Wednesday evening, but Smith refused to do the show without her, the sources said. Both sources also said that producers reached out to two other black ESPN hosts, Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan, to ask them to serve as fill-ins for the show — but Eaves and Duncan did not agree to take the place of Hill and Smith, either.
Faced with the possibility of having to replace Hill and Smith with white co-hosts, the sources said, ESPN then called Hill and asked her to come back on her show.
Jemele Hill previously apologized for her loaded comment, calling Donald Trump “a white supremacist.” She said that she regrets the damage her comments may have done to the ESPN brand.
“My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs,” Hill said. “My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair fight. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”
After ESPN disavowed the actions of Jemele Hill on the company’s Twitter page, many of her colleagues with African ancestry have taken to social media to stand up for Hill…
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 14, 2017
Longtime sports journalist and ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon tweeted out that he is “Happy to stand with my friend and colleague Jemele Hill any time and anywhere…especially now…”
Happy to stand w my friend and colleague Jemele Hill any time and anywhere…especially now…
— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) September 13, 2017