The Hill Pulls out of Future White House Correspondents’ Dinners After Michelle Wolf Routine

The Hill “does not plan at this time to participate in the event moving forward,” writes company chairman James Finkelstein

Michelle Wolf

The Hill will no longer participate in future White House Correspondents’ Dinners, the organization’s chairman, James A. Finkelstein, said in a letter to the White House Correspondents Association on Tuesday.

“The Hill, which has participated in the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner for many years, does not plan at this time to participate in the event moving forward,” wrote Finkelstein in letter addressed to the association’s executive director, Steven Thomma.

“The kind of jokes told by this year’s headliner, Michelle Wolf, were out of line for an event that’s supposed to be fun — and fair,” he said. “Based on what Americans witnessed on national television at Saturday night’s dinner, a once-fine evening celebrating the strong, free press the WHCA speaks of has turned into an angry display and ad-hominem attacks.

The Hill is the first major publication to officially ditch the event after Wolf’s performance. In her monologue, the “Daily Show” veteran offered a litany of raunchy barbs and cutting personal shot at press secretary Sarah Sanders’ appearance.

“We hope the dinner can get back to talking about the importance of the Fourth Estate without the kind of ugly sideshow that completely overshadowed the event this year,” Finkelstein added in his letter. “Along those lines, we will happily donate in the future to the WHCA scholarship program and hope this program can produce future journalists to fight for freedom of the press while remaining non-partisan.”

It remains to be seen whether any other news organizations elect to dump dinner as the fallout continues to ripple across the industry.

In his piece for the New York Times, correspondent Michael Grynbaum reported that CBS executives were so outraged at the performance that they too were close to nixing their involvement in the annual event and only stepped back from the ledge after receiving assurances from the WHCA that major format changes were in the works.

Wolf for her part refused to step back or apologize for a moment of her routine, telling WHYY’s Terry Gross on Monday that she “wouldn’t change a single word” and that she was “very happy” with the performance.