A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist got an unceremonious boot from a conference featuring Michelle Obama for the alleged crime of invading her “safe space” and violating a “black girl code.”
Robin Givhan, a Washington Post reporter who won the Pulitzer for her work in 2006, was invited to the forum with the former First Lady but was subsequently forced to leave after she published an article from the event. A panel she had been scheduled to host was also canceled.
The BET Network, hosts for the event, explained that Obama’s talk had been conducted in a “sacred space,” which Givhan had violated by posting her comments.
The organizers wanted the event to be a private, intimate gathering.
I am looking at this social media ruckus as folks are angry that @RobinGivhan wrote a story about @MichelleObama speaking at #lwdbet and it is confusing. First, folks are saying that the conversation was off-the-record. Yet @BET posted a video featuring some of her comments.
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) March 22, 2018
Fellow writer and journalist, Jamilah Lemieux, criticized Givhan for her actions, saying “this is a complete violation of journalistic ethics and Black girl code.”
“As I recall, at the start of the event, we were told that were in ‘safe space’ and to put our phones away,” Lemieux claims. “That, to me, is a clear indication that no one was to be reporting on this moment.”
A rep for BET issued a statement chastising Givhan, claiming she “was made aware that it was an intimate conversation in a sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship.”
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Oddly, however, BET posted a video from the event on their own website, which would seemingly also be a violation of Obama’s “sacred space.”
Safe space, sacred space, violations of black girl code. Could BET be a bigger group of racist snowflakes?
I’m so confused trying to figure out why @RobinGivhan is being criticized for her article on @MichelleObama interview at @BET Leading Women Defined summit. The network literally posted video on their site. So clearly it’s an on the record convo.
— Nic (@NicNdzibah) March 22, 2018
Givhan’s article is one of reflection for Mrs. Obama, in which she talks about the 2008 campaign and trying to earn the public’s trust as First Lady.
“I couldn’t count on my husband’s campaign to protect me,” she said. “I had to protect myself.”
In discussing their final days in office, her lack of respect for President and Melania Trump was palpable.
“There … had been tears as the Obamas said goodbye to the staff,” Givhan reported, “and Mrs. Obama didn’t want to look as if she was crying when she greeted the Trumps because that would give the media the wrong idea.”
She complained once again about Melania giving her a large Tiffany frame as a gift because it broke protocol.
And Mrs. Obama’s last thought as they said goodbye to the White House?
“What was Mrs. Obama thinking as she and President Obama waved farewell from Marine One?” Givhan wrote. “‘Bye, Felicia!’ she joked. And she laughed.”
Classy. No wonder they wanted those comments kept in a sacred space.
Should this reporter have been thrown out of the conference? Share your thoughts below!
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