Was Michelle Obama interview off-the-record? WashPost's Robin Givhan says no, BET says 'intimate conversation' - iMediaEthics
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(Credit: BET)

Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan published a story about Michelle Obama’s comments during an interview at a BET event, “Leading Women Defined Summit.” But BET claims that her article was a “breach of trust,” because Obama’s comments were made during an “intimate conversation in a sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship.”

The New York Post’s Page Six reported that BET “kicked Givhan out” of the summit after her article on Obama’s comments was published. That said, Page Six flagged BET for an apparent contradiction in slamming Givhan but then publishing on its own website clips of Obama’s comments.

Givhan told the Root that there was no off-the-record agreement made or requested. “At no point during my preparation for the panel, prior to my arrival or upon my arrival did BET say that any aspect of the conference was off-the-record. And during the introduction of the Obama/Jarrett conversation no one said it was off-the-record,” Givhan told the Root.  On Twitter, Givhan maintained, “it was an on-the-record talk.” However, The Root also noted that other attendees interpreted the event and organizers comments about it being a “safe space” as off-the-record.

iMediaEthics wrote to BET to ask why Givhan was asked to leave the conference, if the event was specifically labeled off-the-record and if Givhan agreed to any off-the-record agreements, for confirmation BET paid for Givhan’s travel and accommodations, and why BET posted a video clip from the event if it claims it was an off-the-record event.

A BET spokesperson provided iMediaEthics with its statement saying, “Robin Givhan was invited as a guest (not working press) to moderate a fashion panel at the annual Leading Women Defined Summit. Givhan’s travel and lodging accommodations were paid for by BET Networks. She was made aware that it was an intimate conversation in a sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship. It’s unfortunate that she chose to disregard it, especially in our 9 year history of hosting journalists, as our guests, we’ve never experienced this breach of trust.”

iMediaEthics has written to Givhan to ask for her response to the matter; the Washington Post declined to comment to iMediaEthics, including to why the Post didn’t note in her article that Givhan received free travel and accommodations. Givhan declined to comment beyond her tweets.

Hat Tip: Steve Bien-Aime

UPDATED: 3/26/2018 4:02 PM EST With response from Givhan

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Was Michelle Obama interview off-the-record? WashPost’s Robin Givhan says no, BET says ‘intimate conversation’

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