ESPN anchor Jemele Hill released a statement late Wednesday about her tweets that President Donald Trump is a "white supremacist," saying her remarks expressed her own views but regretting she put the network in an "unfair light."
"My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs," the SportsCenter host wrote in a screen-shotted statement she tweeted. "My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional."
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 14, 2017
ESPN released a statement through CNN's Brian Stelter that Hill had a right to express her political opinions but not in a way that suggested it represented the network. ESPN has dealt with perceptions of a liberal bias in its coverage.
"Jemele has a right to her personal opinions, but not to publicly share them on a platform that implies that she was in any way speaking on behalf of ESPN," she said. "She has acknowledged that her tweets crossed that line and has apologized for doing so. We accept her apology."
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 14, 2017
Hill fired off a series of tweets Monday night about Trump and his team, calling him a white supremacist and the most "ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime." ESPN's public relations Twitter account released a statement Tuesday that her tweets were "inappropriate."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders condemned Hill from the podium Tuesday, calling it a "fireable offense."
Other ESPN employees have publicly expressed support for Hill in the wake of the controversy, as has NFL quarterback and national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick.
Happy to stand w my friend and colleague Jemele Hill any time and anywhere…especially now…
— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) September 13, 2017
— Jalen Rose (@JalenRose) September 14, 2017
— Jorge Sedano (@SedanoESPN) September 13, 2017
It was the latest public relations headache for ESPN, coming on the heels of an embarrassing episode where it yanked Asian-American broadcaster Robert Lee from covering a Virginia football game in the wake of the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va.
The reasoning: His name was too similar to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and ESPN feared he would become an online punchline.