Mina Kimes wasn’t going to let the unwarranted criticism go unchecked.
Jason Whitlock, the polarizing former sports personality-turned-cultural commentator, took to Twitter to chide Kimes’ handling of a racist remark directed her way.
On Wednesday, Chris Curtis, a sports talk radio host on WEEI in Boston, injected Kimes’ name during a discussion on the “The Greg Hill Show” about the group’s five favorite “nips.”
The term is another name for miniature bottles of alcohol, and the discussion was prompted by Boston’s recent ban on the types of bottles.
But “nips” is also a slur directed at Japanese people, referring to a shorter version of Nippon — the Japanese name for the country.
When asked what about his favorite “nips,” Curtis blurted out “Oh, I’d probably go with Mina Kimes.”
The rising ESPN NFL analyst is of Korean descent.
Instead of Curtis, however, Whitlock believes Kimes is the one in the wrong.
“Raise your hand if you knew “Nip” was an ethnic slur? I did not,” Whitlock, who currently works for the self-described conservative leaning Blaze Media, tweeted Wednesday evening. “Tell me how Mina Kimes’ life was impacted by this? Other than nailing herself to a cross, I don’t see the damage. She will dance to rap music calling black people N-words repeatedly without uttering a complaint.”
Kimes shot back at Whitlock on Thursday, rejecting the notion she was “nailing herself to a cross” or playing up the incident.
“Nailing myself to a cross? I made one joke and went back to work…because unlike you, I still talk about sports for a living,” Kimes quote-tweeted Whitlock’s post. “Have a great day.”
After Curtis’ comments on air, The Boston Globe reported that Curtis claimed he meant to to say actress Mila Kunis, not Mina Kimes.
Kimes tweeted a picture of Bart Simpson rolling his eyes in response to that report, and changed her profile picture to a picture of Kunis.
That was Kimes’ only public reaction to the comment until her response to Whitlock, as she promptly went back to tweeting about the NFL.
In fact, Whitlock had much more of a reaction to the comment than Kimes did herself, sending out at least six tweets on Wednesday in which he argued that “nips” referred to nipples, not a racial slur, and also responded to Kimes’ rebuke.
“And unlike you, people actually care what I have to say about sports,” Whitlock responded to Kimes on Twitter. “The next time you offer an opinion about sports — rather than your victimhood — that anyone cares about will be the first time. Glad you replaced your Mila avatar before wallowing some more. Have a great day.”
Despite Whitlock’s claim, Kimes’ 857,000 Twitter followers surpasses his 709,000 followers.
In addition to his tweets, Whitlock penned a column on Blaze Media titled “ESPN and Mina Kimes pick a racial fight with a radio lightweight,” where he railed against Kimes and her burgeoning career and also recorded a video about the subject for the outlet.
“Kimes wants everyone to know she is a victim,” Whitlock wrote. “That’s her job. Her value to ESPN is directly tied to her willingness to play victim. Does anyone ever react to her opinions about sports? Does anyone care what she says about sports? Her relevance and value stem from her ethnicity, her gender, and her good looks.”
Curtis himself differed from Whitlock about Kimes’ reaction, at least publicly.
The radio host opened “The Greg Hill Show” on Thursday to announce that he’d be suspended from the show until next Wednesday, and offered an apology to Kimes.
“In a pathetic failed attempt at a one liner, I attempted to bring up Mila Kunis, which was not really that funny… sophomoric and sexist,” Curtis said, according to NBC Boston. “But for reasons I don’t understand, I said Mina Kimes. That was never the intention for me to say her name. It had nothing to do with the subject matter and it dragged her into a controversy through no fault of her own regarding a slur and her race and that was not at all what my intention was, but it doesn’t matter because of the absolute chaos my words created for someone who’s just doing her job covering the NFL at ESPN.
“So I want to apologize to Mina Kimes, I want to apologize for a stupid, lame attempt at a joke, something that there’s just really no other way to put it.”