Well here’s some interesting, hot tea you sip on. It seems BET and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Robin Givhan are not on the same page. No, not at all. In fact, they are so far apart that the network kicked her out of the BETher conference featuring Michelle Obama, that it produced in Florida.
So why would BET have a confrontation with Givhan, the highly respected fashion columnist for the Washington Post? According to Page Six, the network invited her to its “Leading Women Defined” conference in Bal Harbour and it was all love until Givhan made the unpardonable sin of writing about Obama’s talk, which they claim had been conducted in a “sacred space.” In other words, they’re pissed that she wrote about it.
Givhan’s piece on Wednesday quoted the former FLOTUS discussing her campaign experiences in 2008. Here’s some of what she wrote:
“I couldn’t count on my husband’s campaign to protect me; I had to protect myself.”
Despite her qualifications, Obama was dismayed at being asked if she could handle being First Lady.
“The garden was a subversive act,” she said. “You can’t go in with guns blazing until people trust you.”
And just before welcoming Donald and Melania Trump to the White House, Obama said, she cried saying goodbye to the staff.
So when the BET bosses saw the story had been posted, they pointed Givhan in the direction of the door and then canceled a panel she was due to moderate.
Wait a minute. What’s that we smell? Why it’s the familiar scent of hypocrisy. You see, while castigating Givhan for posting a story about the Obama talk, the network also posted portions of the Obama talk on its website.
Meanwhile, Valerie Jarrett, who conducted the chat, hyped fans on social media, telling them they should “tune in to BET” to hear and see all of what Michelle Obama said.
It seems to us that the only reason they could be mad at her is if they told her specifically not to post and stories about Mrs. Obama or the event. If that’s the case, maybe they are justified in their actions. If they didn’t, it’s just stupid sour grapes and pettiness.
In any event, the incident spiraled into a messy social media screaming match, and Givhan was subjected to a barrage of abuse, Page Six says, with one tweeter saying she “violated a sacred trust between women, black women.”
This Robin Givhan fiasco is complicated…and not. I’ve been in intimate conversations with newsmakers, privy to newsworthy information, and though “off-the-record” was never uttered, I was in community with-not reporting on-these people. I never broke that trust and never will.
— Kirsten West Savali (@KWestSavali) March 25, 2018
Writer Jamilah Lemieux posted: “This is a complete violation of journalistic ethics and Black girl code,” while other journalists defended Givhan.
I feel what I feel about Robin Gihvan’s choice to write that article, but she should not be subject to harassment. Folks who were there responded, there isn’t a need for a pile-on.
I’m also uncomfortable with some of the things being said (by other non-attendees) to defend her
— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) March 24, 2018
A BET rep insisted Givhan was “invited as a guest (not working press) to moderate a fashion panel,” and her travel and hotel were paid for by BET.
“She was made aware that it was an intimate conversation in a sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship.”
Yes, but was she told she could not write about it? That’s what we wanna know.
You can read what Givhan wrote, here and what BET posted, here.
Meanwhile, its been radio silence from the Givhan and Obama camps regarding the matter.
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