YouTuber Jake Paul might have expected questions about his left jab or perhaps an overmatched boxing opponent, but he was caught off guard when Vice TV hosts instead asked if he was racist to knock out ex-NBA player Nate Robinson.
Social media users were astonished by the absurd line of questioning, calling Vice hosts Jemele Hill and Cari Champion the true racists for making the conversation about skin color. A video circulating on Wednesday on Twitter showed Hill and Champion questioning Paul about his November 28 knockout of Robinson. Hill began by asking:
Jake, considering where we are right now in our racial conversation in America, was what you did to Nate Robinson racist?
Hill then laughed, and Paul replied, “Nah, stop playing with me.” But Hill persisted, saying, “It’s a sensitive time right now. We just had to witness a white man just knock a black man smooth out in front of all America, so that’s why I asked that.”
Champion later asked Paul, without a laugh, “First and foremost, was it racist to knock a black man out? That is the question of the week.”
“Stop asking me that,” an irritated Paul said. “I said no. It’s a shi**y question. It’s a sport.” Not satisfied, Champion asked why the question was ‘shi**y.’ “Because, how does this have anything to do with race? It doesn’t.”
The reaction on Twitter was disgust. “It’s hilarious to see white and black Americans finally coming together to agree on at least one thing: Jemele Hill is a race-bating fu**ing coon,” one commenter tweeted. Former NFL running back Larry Johnson agreed, saying, “This is what happens to puppets who talk back to their masters. They’re sent to B-list networks to become race-baiters. The coonery of it all.”
as a black man that question is stupid as hell. who the hell told them to ask this question. Jemele seemed like she didnt wanna ask the question and she started laughing cuz she knew it was ridiculous to even ask. VICE DO BETTER
Hill was previously an anchor with ESPN, which bought out the final two years of her contract in 2018, after she had been suspended for making politically and racially divisive comments on Twitter. Johnson said incorrectly that Hill is now with a network owned by the founder of Proud Boys. Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes left Vice in 2008.
Another observer pointed out that if knocking out a black boxing opponent is now considered racist, “Next, striking out a black baseball player is racist. Scoring a touchdown against a black cornerback is racist. A black golfer missing the hole for a birdie will be racist.”
Wow, knocking out a black man in boxing is racist. Next, striking out a black baseball player is racist. Scoring a TD against a black CB is racist. A black golfer missing the hole for birdie will be racist. A white 7’4” center dunking on Patrick Beverly is racist. #JemeleHillhttps://t.co/Wsynu8Eqpg
But Slate writer Joel Anderson came to Hill’s defense, painting her as a victim. “It’s not that Jemele Hill is incapable of making a misstep because she obviously isn’t,” he said. “It’s that a lot of people – usually men who haven’t done as well as they’d like and have long resented her – have been waiting for the signal to be vicious again. This isn’t about Jake Paul.”
It’s not that Jemele Hill is incapable of making a misstep, because she obviously isn’t. It’s that a lot of people — usually men who haven’t done as well as they’d like and have long resented her — have been waiting for the signal to be vicious again. This isn’t about Jake Paul.
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