President Donald Trump called for an apology from ESPN on Friday after one if its anchors called him a "white supremacist," slamming the network for falling ratings because of its politics.
"ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!" he tweeted.
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ESPN is facing financial problems, although it stems more from declining cable subscription numbers than its declining ratings. It laid off more than 100 employees in April.
ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
SportsCenter anchor Jemele Hill tweeted Trump was a white supremacist who surrounded himself with other white supremacists this week in a tweetstorm, prompting ESPN to disavow her remarks and Hill to say she regretted putting the network in an "unfair light." She did not apologize for her attacks on Trump, however.
ESPN has faced criticism for liberal bias in its coverage and having a chilling culture against conservatives inside the network. Hill received support from other top ESPN personalities amidst the controversy.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Hill's comments a "fireable offense" on Wednesday. After criticism for calling for the dismissal of a private employee from the podium, Sanders stood by the remarks on Thursday and suggested ESPN "stick to sports."
Last month, ESPN was the subject of widespread mockery over its decision to remove a broadcaster named Robert Lee from covering a Virginia football game after the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va. The network claimed it feared because of his name's similarity to Confederate General Robert E. Lee that he would be satirized online.