Sports

ESPN host Jemele Hill calls Donald Trump a white supremacist on Twitter. ESPN responds.

ESPN is distancing itself from Twitter comments made by an on-air personality.

On Twitter Monday night, Jemele Hill, a host of the sports programming network’s SportsCenter, called President Donald Trump a white supremacist during an exchange with other users of the social media service.

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists,” Hill posted.

On Tuesday, ESPN responded by saying that Hill’s views do not reflect those of the network.

“The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN. We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate,” ESPN said in a statement.

Hill, who started her career as a general assignment sports reporter at The News & Observer (1997-99), worked at the Detroit Free Press and the Orlando Sentinel before landing at ESPN in 2006. Hill has co-hosted several shows on ESPN and also served as a backup for other on-air personalities.

In the Twitter exchange, Hill had originally gone after Kid Rock, who had given what some people perceived as a racially-charged speech during a recent concert. Rock, whose real name is Robert Richie, has pondered a potential Senate run in Michigan.

She shared an article from the news website The Hill about Rock, which produced a long stream of comments. It was during these exchanges that she posted the Donald Trump tweet.

ESPN did not disclose whether or not Hill would be punished. Hill declined to comment.

The network has fired people over social media comments, including ex-host Curt Schilling, who shared a bawdy cartoon criticizing HB2, a once North Carolina law that said people had to use bathrooms in schools and other government buildings that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. Former reporter Britt McHenry claimed she was laid off because of her conservative views.

Hill was previously suspended for one week by ESPN during the 2008 NBA Playoffs after making comments about Adolf Hitler in an article about the Boston Celtics. But the network chose not to suspend Lou Holtz that same year, who also made some unfavorable Hitler remarks.

Jonathan M. Alexander contributed.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews

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