White House doubles down on ESPN attacks, cites previous 'suspension' as standard for why Jemele Hill should be fired

Sarah Huckabee SandersWhite HouseSarah Huckabee Sanders.

For the second time in three days,
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has gone in on ESPN and “SC6” anchor Jemele Hill for her comments on Twitter in which she called President Donald Trump “a white supremacist.”
On Friday, Sanders was asked about Trump’s tweet earlier in the day in which he demanded that ESPN “Apologise for untruth!” and whether the president would apologise for birtherism claims made previously by Trump about President Barack Obama. Sanders deflected the question but responded by saying the real story is that ESPN has been hypocritical in how they punish their employees.

“I think the point is that ESPN has been hypocritical,” Sanders said. “They should hold anchors to a fair and consistent standard. ESPN suspended longtime anchor Linda Cohn, not too long ago, for expressing a political viewpoint… This is clearly a political statement. They should be consistent in whatever guidelines that they have set themselves in that front.”

As Business Insider’s Scott Davis reported on Thursday, Cohn was not suspended, but rather was told to take a day off. And while that part may be semantics, she was not reprimanded for “expressing a political viewpoint,” but rather she was punished for criticising ESPN’s business decisions.

Sanders was also asked if she stood by her earlier statement that she felt Hill’s comments were a “fireable offence.” She said she did and then again cited Cohn’s suspension as the standard for why Hill should be fired.

“I do [stand by that comment] and again I think they laid that out themselves by suspending one of their own anchors for political comments,” Sanders said. “

Sanders later added, “I think it is a fireable offence based on the standard that ESPN has set themselves by saying that people that go too far and make political comments have been suspended from their own network. I think that is a consistency that they should probably focus on.”

Sanders never clarified why the suspension of one anchor means Hill should be fired.

A report on Thursday said ESPN did try to keep Hill off air on Wednesday but later changed their mind when co-host Michael Smith refused to do the show without her and ESPN was unable to find two suitable replacements. ESPN emphatically denied that they asked anybody to replace Hill on air.

You can see Sanders’ comments here:

 

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.