Atlantic staff writer Jemele Hill offered an apology on Wednesday after tweeting out an ambiguous quotation during President Trump’s State of the Union address, which a number of people then took as a call to violence against the president.
“Let me be clear: I have often disagreed with many of the president’s policies, his behavior and rhetoric, but I would never call for violence against him, or any person. I apologize for breathing life into such an absurd assumption,” Hill said in a tweeted apology Wednesday evening.
“If there’s a chance someone could arrive at that conclusion, I’d rather just say I’m sorry and move on,” she added in a follow-up explaining her decision.
Quite a few people did arrive at that conclusion when Hill tweeted out a cryptic remarks urging Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to shout “GETCHO HAND OUT MY POCKET” during the State of the Union address on Tuesday. Hill later deleted the tweet.
The line is an unmistakable reference to the phrase yelled out at New York City’s Audubon Ballroom in 1965 — seemingly as a deliberate distraction just before the assassination of Malcolm X. The moment was first flagged by The Federalist and ex-Weekly Standard writer Mark Hemingway.
The instance is also prominently featured in the 1992 biopic titled “Malcolm X,” a clip of which you can watch here.
Reps for Hill and to the Atlantic did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.
Hill is no stranger to highly charged Twitter commentary about President Trump. While an anchor at ESPN in 2017 she caused untold levels of heartburn for her employer after tweeting out that the Trump was a “white supremacist.” The network publicly rebuked her for it in a statement at the time.
“The comments on Twitter from Jemele Hill regarding the president do not represent the position of ESPN,” the network tweeted at the time. “We have addressed this with Jemele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”