Former ESPN reporter Britt McHenry told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday that the network’s decision to remove announcer Robert Lee from play-by-play duty for a University of Virginia football game was “a reflection of society right now and how left-wing and PC it’s gotten.”
“Even your name given at birth or the possibility of a meme on the Internet is a reason to make a personnel change,” said McHenry. “I mean, if that’s what we’re doing here … everyone might be out of a job, especially in this industry.”
ESPN confirmed late Tuesday that it decided to switch Lee, who is Asian, to another game in response to this month’s violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that killed one woman and injured dozens of others. The network’s statement said it made the decision after consulting with Lee, adding “In that moment it felt right to all parties.”
Wednesday night, ESPN President John Skipper sent a memo to employees stating the network was concerned that Lee’s presence in the booth for Virginia’s game against William & Mary “might create a distraction, or even worse, expose him to social hectoring and trolling.” Skipper added that Lee himself had “expressed some personal trepidation about the assignment.”
“This isn’t the type of attention you want on the national scene,” McHenry told host Tucker Carlson. “Obviously, we know who [Lee] is now, but now these pictures, once the 24-hour news cycle goes away, he’s gonna be associated with Robert E. Lee and they’re superimposed together.”
McHenry, who worked for ESPN from 2014 until she was laid off earlier this year, has been an outspoken critic of the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports.” In June, she implied in a since-deleted tweet that she was let go from the network for her conservative political views.
McHenry has also criticized NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his refusal to stand for the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as well as NBA star Kevin Durant for saying he wouldn’t go to the White House to meet President Trump with the Golden State Warriors.
“I just think that this climate really is sending the wrong message,” McHenry said, adding that “a lot of Americans are sick of being labeled a bigot if they don’t agree with whatever is on the left with some of these athletes and agendas.”