ESPN’s Jemele Hill captioned a tweet referencing “racial resentment” by “White America” over welfare, with the words: “We Been Knew.”
On Thursday, Hill tweeted:
File this under, We Been Knew https://t.co/ATyow6QUZQ
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) May 31, 2018
It’s no secret that Hill believes President Trump to be a racist, she last September she tweeted:
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017
Though, judging by her approval of a headline that made the generalized claim that “White America” harbors “racial resentment” over welfare, one wonders if Hill has now adopted the position that nearly the entire Republican Party is racist?
ESPN’s social media policy states that their “writers, reporters, and producers,” are to avoid tackling political and social issues:
Writers, reporters, producers and editors directly involved in “hard” news reporting, investigative or enterprise assignments and related coverage should refrain in any public-facing forum from taking positions on political or social issues, candidates or office holders.
Hill is a writer for the Undefeated and may even qualify as a reporter as well. In any event, she clearly falls under this particular part of ESPN’s social media policy.
ESPN’s guidelines for commentary also include:
The subject matter should merit our audience’s interests, and be worthy of our time, space and resources; we should be in position to discuss the issue with authority and be factually accurate.
The topic should be related to a current issue impacting sports, unless otherwise approved by senior editorial management. This condition may vary for content appearing on platforms with broader editorial missions – such as The Undefeated, FiveThirtyEight and espnW.
Commentaries on relevant sports-related issues are appropriate, but we should refrain from overt partisanship or endorsement of particular candidates, politicians or political parties.
The presentation should be thoughtful and respectful. We should offer balance or recognize opposing views, as warranted. We should avoid personal attacks and inflammatory rhetoric.
Communication with producers and editors must take place prior to commentary on any political or social issues to manage volume and ensure a fair and effective presentation.
Hill likely enjoys greater latitude to comment on issues regarding race due to her role as a writer for the Undefeated, a site which covers issues of race in sports and beyond.
Though, the directive to avoid “taking positions on political or social issues, candidates or office holders” is still there, and presumably applicable.
In addition, the above guidelines stipulate that ESPN personalities have to clear non-sports related topics with “senior editorial management.” It’s highly unlikely that such a conversation occurred before Hill seconded the racist assertion of the Washington Post story.
However, whether Hill’s response to the Washington Post story was technically permissible under ESPN’s rules or not, the fact is it was a racial response.
Not only does the story Hill is commenting on here have nothing to do with sports, the entire premise of the headline is that the white people in America who want to cut welfare are racist. To which, Hill responds with: “We Been Knew.” She is affirming and agreeing with an author’s generalized statement, that “White America” harbors “racial resentment.”
Social media policy or no social media policy, how can ESPN tolerate such a statement from Hill?
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn