Valerie Hoff, a white reporter for 11Alive news station in Atlanta, resigned from her post two weeks after attempting to jokingly refer to herself using the n-word while corresponding with a black source through Twitter direct messages.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the exchange happened on April 13, when a man who identified himself as Curtis Rivers tweeted out a video of a traffic stop, during which a white cop punched a black motorist.
This how Gwinnett county police getting down now smh pic.twitter.com/FbLUmavbAx— i Just Be Tweeting™ (@CurtfromdaBurbs) April 13, 2017
Like many other people who share videos of injustice of relative noteworthiness, Rivers received a barrage of inquiries from news stations asking to use the footage. One of those inquiries came from Hoff, who direct messaged Rivers and referred to herself as a “news n—a,” a callback to a messaged Rivers tweeted about the attention he was receiving from news outlets.
I just posted a video to get some justice now I got news niggas all up in my DMs telling me to call them smh— i Just Be Tweeting™ (@CurtfromdaBurbs) April 13, 2017
According to screenshots obtained by the publication, Hoff wrote, “Please call this news n—a,” and “Lol I’m with 11alive.”
Rivers responded with “LMFAOO,” at first, but confronted her once he realized she was white. Hoff then tried to explain that she wasn’t calling Rivers the n-word, but herself, as a reference to his tweet. She then apologized several times, to which he replied, “How would I be able to contact your manager or lawyer?”
“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,” Rivers told the Journal-Constitution ” … 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 shared screenshots of the conversation in a tweet, now deleted, but not before others criticized Hoff’s use of the racial slur. Though she was using his reference and talking about herself, it didn’t excuse the fact that a white woman was using a word historically used by white people to oppress African Americans.
She really said he N word and thought it was cool and that she'd get away with it 🤦🏽♀️ sounds like somebody needs to be fired ☕️ https://t.co/AvteNGLs4X— L ❤️🔥 (@satansexxgf) April 13, 2017
Someone bouta lose they job today https://t.co/NsUtls68BB— Cel TNG🎤 (@Cel_TNG) April 13, 2017
Bruh lmaooooo I thought that was a fake page until I looked at it. She getting fired https://t.co/2jgmsmqas6— Giovanni (@iNeed30Bandz) April 14, 2017
Hoff originally offered to resign, but was instead placed on a two-week suspension. However, after catching wind of the brewing Journal-Constitution post, Hoff immediately resigned on April 28. She said she plans to work on her travel and food blogs this summer while being a stay-at-home mom.
“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,” Hoff told the publication. “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.”
Though Hoff says she understands what she said was offensive and wrong, her context of a “pressure-filled” day and the tweets she’s posted since seem to tell a different story.
Thank you for understanding the context of what I typed in a private message. Good intent, bad judgement. https://t.co/gJwoggA5pV— Valerie Hoff DeCarlo (@Valerie_Hoff) May 4, 2017
Thanks so much for your support. It was one bad decision in a 25 year (or maybe longer career) https://t.co/AXfRTD0GxU— Valerie Hoff DeCarlo (@Valerie_Hoff) May 1, 2017
You will not find 1 person who's ever heard me use/write it before. And of course, never again. But intentions were good. https://t.co/s2Oa85qZNw— Valerie Hoff DeCarlo (@Valerie_Hoff) May 1, 2017
Thank you! My ❤is in right place. And I have a clear conscience except for one moment of stupidity aimed at exposing an injustice. https://t.co/vmBu2ogRIU— Valerie Hoff DeCarlo (@Valerie_Hoff) May 1, 2017
Thanks. I wasn't really given a choice. Bad word but good intentions trying to expose a black mean beating by white cops. https://t.co/t4L5TfaYJN— Valerie Hoff DeCarlo (@Valerie_Hoff) May 1, 2017
So much for lessons learned.