Cultural critic Jemele Hill thrives at the intersection of race and pop culture, and her new show, Vice TV’s Stick to Sports—co-hosted by fellow ESPN alum Cari Champion—follows a similar modus operandi.
Each week, the dynamic duo interviews some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment. And while I’ve admittedly only seen the show a few times, it’s important to note that Hill and Champion frequently poke fun at the racial dynamics of the complicated world we live in.
During the undercard of the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones exhibition match in November, Nate Robinson died for all of our sins; murdered at the hands of a goofy YouTuber named Jake Paul who beat KyrptoNate so bad that his soul has yet to return to his body.
Considering the magnitude of the moment, and the premise of Stick to Sports, it makes complete sense that Hill and Champion would extend an invite to the same dude who made us forget allllllllllll about the white boy who whooped rapper Sticky Fingaz’s ass on MTV for an interview. And based on Twitter’s response, I think it’s safe to assume it’s at least worth checking out.
In a clip posted by Vice TV’s Twitter account, Hill asks Paul what should be interpreted as an obvious—albeit corny—joke: “Considering where we are right now in our racial conversation in America, was what you did to Nate Robinson racist?”
The question is so outlandish that Hill can’t help but chuckle herself. But regardless of how you feel about her inquiry, it’s completely on-brand for the show and shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Yet in this social media era in which people love to take things out of context or overreact for the sake of doing so, Hill spent her Wednesday morning trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.
There were people accusing Hill of being racist for even asking the question:
Black folks annoyed that it was ever even asked:
A dash of sexism:
And of course, people coming to Hill and Champion’s defense:
For those wondering how Paul responded to being asked if he had racist knuckles, here’s your answer. He was pretty curt: “It’s a shitty question, it’s a sport.”
As for Champion, she took to Twitter to remind everyone that they were simply trolling a troll and it really ain’t that deep.
“Y’all, @jemelehill and I were trolling a troll with permission,” she tweeted. “This wasn’t an interview with weight.”
Common sense seems to be in short supply considering this disclaimer was even necessary. But if you think this had folks up in arms, wait until Floyd Mayweather breaks Logan Paul’s face in February.