Despite the apparent seriousness of the the word and the tragic history behind it, for some reason there are still a few White people that haven’t gotten the memo on why they—of all people—should not use the N-word. And apparently veteran 11 Alive reporter Valerie Hoff is one of them.
The now former news professional resigned Monday, two weeks after she jokingly used the racial epithet in a private message to a Black man on Twitter that he publicized.
On April 13 the man, who identified himself to AJC.com as Curtis Rivers, posted a video of a White police officer punching a Black motorist on his @curtfromdablock Twitter feed. Hoff was trying to get permission to use it for a breaking news story. On Twitter, Rivers, who himself uses the racial slur frequently in his tweets, had noted publicly that a lot of “news n***as” were trying to track him down for the video.
In response to a private direct message, Hoff called herself one of those “news n****s.” At first, Rivers responded with laughter, but when he realized she was a White woman, he wondered if she was calling him that word.
“I just think it wasn’t right for her to use that word in regards to a person who is African-American on herself or use the word period for that matter. If she is bold enough to say it to me being an African-American then I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time she has used that word,” Rivers told AJC.
Hoff quickly tried to clean up the comment with an apology, but Rivers still published the screenshots on Twitter. And though Rivers later deleted the screenshots, Twitter had already grabbed a hold of the situation.
In an exclusive statement to AJC, Hoff continued to apologize for her poor decision.
“I was quoting something the gentleman said in a public tweet back to him in a private message but that doesn’t make it any less offensive. It was incredibly stupid and reckless. I was in the middle of a pressure-filled day trying to chase down the video of a man being beaten and kicked by two Gwinnett police officers, which this particular gentleman had posted on Twitter. I repeatedly apologized and continue to do so. I also offered to resign immediately.”
Hoff’s supervisor John Deushane also gave a statement saying, “11Alive does not tolerate any form of racial insensitivity and aggressively enforces our standard policies. We acted promptly to address this situation. Valerie Hoff has chosen to resign and apologizes for her actions. 11Alive is committed to treating the communities we serve with dignity and respect.”