ESPN’s Jemele Hill on Calling Trump a ‘White Supremacist’: ‘I Don’t Regret What I Said or Even the Language That I Used’

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The Associated Press

ESPN host Jemele Hill says she is not sorry for the content of a tweet, in which she called President Trump a “white supremacist.” Instead, her only regret is that she used social media as her platform to do it.

Hill, the host of the network’s popular SportsCenter, has continued to spout her political views despite finger waging from ESPN bosses. She has even continued her commentary after the entire company was brought together for a mandatory meeting to go over the company’s ban on overtly political comments on social media. Indeed, she is even unrepentant despite having served a two-week suspension for breaking the company’s social media policy.

Hill first sparked controversy when she jumped to Twitter last year to call President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.” Hill was scolded but not punished by ESPN for that violation, but after a second violation only a few weeks later, network bosses handed Hill a two-week suspension.

This month, Hill appeared on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast and told host Richard Deitsch that she doesn’t regret her comments in the least. She only regrets that she made her comments on Twitter.

Deitsch asked Hill if she regretted her choice of rhetoric when she called Trump a “white supremacist.” But she was unrepentant, Awful Announcing reported:

“I have more regrets about the medium. …Most of us find out every day in some form or fashion that Twitter is not necessarily a place for nuance. Twitter’s not even really a place where if you want to have some extensive conversation, especially about race, Twitter’s not set up for that. It’s built on quick thoughts, okay, and that’s not something to have quick thoughts about. So I don’t really have any regrets about the language that I used, because I do think that there is some evidence to at least where we can question some of the things that he’s said and done, and for that matter, examine why there are clearly large groups of people, women, people of color, who feel they’re very vulnerable at this time and under attack. I don’t regret what I said or even the language that I used.”

“…It’s just the where. The where is problematic because, of course, there are these problems that are going to be created because of who I represent and who I work for. And that’s just not a conversation that people are accustomed to someone in my position having, especially not in an open forum. And I’ve often wondered, if I were on a panel discussion at Harvard and said the same thing, would it have resonated the same way? Because I do think now that Twitter’s become what it’s become, it’s an easy place to search tweets and create headlines and create sort of this thinkpiece-like environment for other media entities.”

Hill also said the “timing” of her forays into political commentary was probably bad:

“And I think timing is everything, and I regret the timing too, because there is, and I’ve mentioned this before and talked to you about this before, the timing of especially where and how ESPN is being viewed by a lot of people, those are things that in a forum like that, it’s just not going to go over well. So, as I’ve said before, I don’t take anything back from what I said, I’ve been very consistent in that message, but I do think the environment lends itself to it drawing more attention than it was probably worth.”

This is far from the first time Hill has said she doesn’t regret her comments.

At the end of December, Hill said that she was shocked that her comments about Trump raised such a ruckus because she thought “everybody already knew” that Trump was a racist.

“I thought everybody knew (Trump is a white supremacist),” Hill said on the podcast of former NFL running back Arian Foster in December. “I thought water was wet. I didn’t think I was saying anything that was shocking.”

In that interview, Hill also said she didn’t regret the content of her comments.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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