Higher-ups at ESPN attempted to replace Jemele Hill, the anchor who called President Trump a “white supremacist,” on Wednesday night’s “SportsCenter,” but her colleagues refused to do the show without her, reported ThinkProgress.
ThinkProgress cites two sources familiar with the situation who said the network tried to find a last-minute fill-in for “SC6” just hours after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Ms. Hill’s comments were a “fireable offense.”
Ms. Hill’s co-anchor, Michael Smith, reportedly refused to do the show without her. ESPN reportedly reached out to two black replacement hosts, Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan, but neither was willing to take Ms. Hill’s place.
Mr. Eaves expressed frustration in a post to social media that afternoon.
Ms. Hill and Mr. Smith ended up hosting the show as usual.
ESPN has denied they tried to shake up the roster.
“We never asked any other anchors to do last night’s show. Period,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz told ThinkProgress.
Rob King, senior vice president for news and information at “SportsCenter,” said having Ms. Hill and Mr. Smith “appearing on the show last night and doing the show the way they did is the outcome we always desired.”
In a series of tweets on Monday evening, Ms. Hill called Mr. Trump a “white supremacist” and the “most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.”
ESPN distanced itself from those remarks in a statement on Tuesday.
“The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN,” the network said. “We have addressed this issue with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”
On Wednesday, Ms. Hill issued a statement expressing regret for the way her comments “painted ESPN in an unfair light.”
Her tweets condemning Mr. Trump and his supporters have not been deleted as of Thursday evening.
Conservatives have accused ESPN of a double standard when it comes to the inflammatory speech of its employees, pointing out that Ms. Hill was not formally disciplined for her remarks.
Former ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling was fired last year for ridiculing the movement to regulate restrooms and changing rooms on the basis of gender identity, rather than biological sex.
He was previously suspended for comparing radical Islam to Nazism.
Mr. Schilling said the only reason Ms. Hill wasn’t fired is because ESPN condones “liberal racism.”
And longtime ESPN anchor Linda Cohn was reportedly asked not to come to work after she spoke out against the amount of coverage ESPN has dedicated to politics, rather than sports.
Mr. Trump tweeted a response on Friday morning.