Jemele Hill and Cari Champion are facing backlash after seemingly trying to turn Jake Paul's victory over Nate Robinson into an issue about race.
During a recent appearance on Cari & Jemele (Won’t) Stick to Sports, Jake Paul was asked by Hill if his knockout was racist.
Initially, Paul was a good sport about the comment, shrugging it off and explaining that he trains to win. But when Champion asked the question again, a visibly annoyed Paul shot back. "Stop asking me that," he said. "I said 'no.' That's a shitty question. It's a sport. ... How does this have anything to do with race?"
While Hill and Champion's laughs throughout the segment suggest they were perhaps joking, people were quick to pounce on the duo for their line of questioning.
Eventually, Hill and Champion took to Twitter to clarify that the question was indeed a joke that just didn't land.
"Y’all, @jemelehill and I were trolling a troll with permission. This wasn’t an interview with weight," Champion wrote. "It was sarcastic- y’all need context? Bc if y’all can’t hear the laughing, the bad WiFi connection- smh. So for the outraged!"
"NOW RACISM IS SERIOUS!" Champion added. Hill also joined the online discourse.
"It’s a late night talk show that comes on at 11:30p. It ain’t supposed to be PBS. I also didn’t realize I wasn’t permitted to joke about race just because I also have the range to talk about it seriously," Hill wrote before reiterating Champion's point.
When someone tweeted that "the joke absolutely stunk and you kept doubling down," Hill responded by saying it was a "fair" criticism.
"I can accept that. That’s fair criticism," she wrote. "But people are actually criticizing me off the idea it’s a serious question."