ESPN anchor Sage Steele was reportedly pulled off air shortly after questioning Barack Obama‘s blackness.
Apart from testing positive for COVID-19, Steele will be taking a break from work following her appearance on the podcast “Uncut With Jay Cutler,” during which she took aim at the former president’s racial background, bashed coronavirus policies and suggested some female journalists are at fault for being harassed because of their wardrobe choices.
The 48-year-old made her controversial remarks on Cutler’s September 29 episode, with her starting off by recalling a time she was “ripped” on live TV for identifying as bi-racial. The embattled TV personality claimed a show host told her she had to choose white or black when filling out federal census data.
She claimed the host said Obama identified as black on his federal census, to which Steele replied: “Well, congratulations to the president. That’s his thing.”
Steele — whose mom is Irish-Italian and dad was the first African American to play football for the U.S.’ Military Academy — went on to note it was interesting that Obama identified as Black even though his white mom was the one by his side his entire life, per the Daily Mail.
“I think that’s fascinating considering his black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him,” she said, “but hey, you do you. I’m going to do me.”
In light of her remarks, ESPN executives released a statement, per Variety, to address what had been said.
“At ESPN, we embrace different points of view — dialogue and discussion makes this place great. That said, we expect that those points of view be expressed respectfully, in a manner consistent with our values, and in line with our internal policies,” the outlet said in a statement. “We are having direct conversations with Sage, and those conversations will remain private.”
In addition to throwing shade at the 44th president, Steele slammed ESPN’s parent company, Disney, after they required her to get the vaccine. The host said she felt “defeated” by the mandate, but obliged in an attempt to keep her job.
“I respect everyone’s decision, I really do, but to mandate it is sick and it’s scary to me in many ways. But I have a job, a job that I love and, frankly, a job that I need,” she candidly said.
The longtime host didn’t stop there with addressing several hot topics in today’s society, as she went on to insist some women should be held “responsible” for the inappropriate comments directed at them.
“When you dress like that, yeah, I’m not saying you deserve the gross comments,” Steele explained to Cutler, “but you know what you’re doing when you’re putting that outfit on too.” Noting women are “smart,” Steele advised them not to “play coy” and blame “the guys” for making comments.
Steele’s remarks instantly sparked backlash on social media, with online users taking to Twitter to slam the brunette beauty. “So you respect everyone’s decision when it comes to vaccinations but not about how Obama identifies on the census and in society. Huh, got it,” one critic wrote.
‘“Not saying you deserve the gross comments BUT you know what you’re doing…’ Soooo, basically you’re saying someone actually does deserve the gross comments. What if a person just likes a particular style and they dress for themself (sic) and not for anyone else’s pleasure?” another hater questioned. “Girl bye!”