The last time ESPN suspended anyone over a political comment, it was back in October when anchor Jemele Hill called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter. The comment drew calls for boycotts against the already declining network, hence why Hill got suspended at all. It took ESPN a few days to suspend her, and it’s unlikely they would’ve had there not been public backlash.
Of course, it’s just my interpretation that Hill would’ve never been fired had it not been for the threats of boycott, because the leadership at ESPN leans left. Take a look at their inaction over the latest anti-Trump comments made on the air, however, and it’s clear that they don’t care much at all.
According to BizPacReview,
ESPN host Katie Nolan forewent company policy about engaging in political talk with a controversial appearance on Viceland’s “Desus & Mero” program, in which she called President Trump “a f—ing stupid person.” Nolan and the program’s hosts discussed whether the thumbs-up sign is a “white power” symbol. Desus said the thumbs-up is now associated with white supremacy because President Trump often uses it in photo-ops.
Nolan replied, “that’s because he’s a f—ing stupid person.”
ESPN recently unveiled an updated social media policy limiting its journalists’ political discussions in an effort to minimize backlash against the network, but it may actually protect Ms. Nolan in this case. According to the new policy “commentaries on relevant sports-related issues are appropriate, but we should refrain from overt partisanship or endorsement of particular candidates, politicians or political parties.”
Because the comments were made on television and not social media, the network can claim that this comment is allowed, while an identical comment would’ve been unacceptable had it been made on Twitter or Facebook. A bit odd, isn’t it? ESPN wants to protect themselves from getting in trouble for the opinions of their reporters, so they decide to allow their reporters to express their political opinions on the air, but not elsewhere. How does that make any sense?
Nolan defended herself by claiming she was on “medicine” because she had the flu, though a defense doesn’t appear to be necessary. In response to a request for comment from Fox News, ESPN said “we have looked into the totality of Nolan’s comments, they were inappropriate, and we have addressed it with her.”
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