President Trump on Friday tweeted that ESPN should “apologize for untruth” amid ongoing controversy over anchor Jemele Hill’s recent remarks about him.
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
ThinkProgress on Thursday reported that ESPN had originally tried to keep Hill off its broadcast of SportsCenter the night before.
Two sources told ThinkProgress that co-host Michael Smith refused to do Wednesday evening’s show without Hill, leading to the pair appearing together as normal.
ThinkProgress’ sources added that producers also reached out to two-other black ESPN hosts, Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan, about serving as fill-ins on the program.
Duncan and Eaves ultimately declined to replace Hill and Smith, and ESPN put the latter pair on-air after being faced with the possibility of putting on white co-hosts instead.
Some Twitter users on Friday defended Hill, while other people on the social media platform criticized the controversial television personality.
ESPN on Thursday refuted reports that it had considered replacing Hill with another broadcaster on-air.
“We never asked any other anchors to do last night’s show. Period,” network spokesman Josh Krulewitz said in an email to ThinkProgress.
Hill’s appearance on SportsCenter came hours after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested her remarks about Trump could cost her a job.
“That is one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and is a fireable offense by ESPN,” she said of Hill.
ESPN has struggled to deal with national debate over Hill’s tweets about Trump and race last Monday.
Hill, who is black, harshly criticized Trump as a “bigot” and a “white supremacist” during a series of Twitter exchanges that evening.
“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/other white supremacists,” she said in one post.
“Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime," Hill added in another tweet. "His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.”