Former ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Jemele Hill tweeted on Sunday that the U.S. was as bad as Nazi Germany.
She tweeted: “Been reading Isabel Wilkerson’s new book, ‘Caste,’ and if you were of the opinion that the United States wasn’t nearly as bad as Nazi Germany, how wrong you are. Can’t encourage you enough to read this masterpiece.”
A few hours later, as her tweet blew up with people lambasting her for the comment, she asked, “what does it say that in 2020, lynching still hasn’t been outlawed?”
(Fact check: Murder is illegal.)
A pattern of apologizing
This is not the first time that Hill has made outlandish comparisons. In 2008, Hill wrote in a column that “rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim.” (The offending line has since been deleted.)
Hill apologized in a statement, saying, “I showed very poor judgment in the words that I used. I pride myself on an understanding of, and appreciation for, diversity — and there is no excuse for the appalling lack of sensitivity in my comments.” In that same statement, she also said, “I still have a lot of growing and learning to do.”
She later wrote an apology column in which she said that she, “found humor in making a moronic comparison between a man who was responsible for killing millions to Detroiters who root for the Boston Celtics.” I’m going home.
“Moronic comparison” sounds about right.
In that same apology, she also said this:
I got too comfortable with my own knowledge and history of dealing with racial issues. I forgot to ask questions, perhaps subconsciously thinking I knew it all… I got caught up in being cutesy and wrote something stupid.
It seems Hill is once again subconsciously thinking she knows it all. And she again wrote something stupid, but it isn’t cute. Twelve years after that apology, she still has a lot of growing and learning to do.
Or maybe, given how many times in her career Hill has said something outrageous without facing serious consequences, she has learned that she can get away with it. In 2017 Hill called President Trump a white supremacist. This led to a two-week suspension from ESPN for violating the company’s social media policy. Subsequently, Hill reportedly received a $5 million buyout to leave the network a year later.
Hill is now a writer for The Atlantic.
Since Hill is big on book recommendations, here’s one: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: a History of Nazi Germany by journalist and historian William L. Shirer, which is considered the seminal work on the subject.
If she hasn’t read it yet, maybe Hill ought to check it out. She might learn something about a subject she so often references.