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Award-winning journo tossed from Michelle Obama conference, fiasco turns into online ‘screaming match’

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A social media firestorm erupted after a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with the Washington Post was booted from a conference featuring former first lady Michelle Obama.

The BET Network demanded Robin Givhan leave the “Leading Women Defined” conference in Bal Harbour, Florida for publishing a story on a Q&A session that was reportedly off the record, according to the New York Post’s Page Six.

Image: screenshot/BET

The Washington Post fashion critic, who received the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, published her story Wednesday, quoting Obama from the “private gathering of supremely accomplished black women.”

“I couldn’t count on my husband’s campaign to protect me; I had to protect myself,” Obama said in a chat with former presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett. “They were using me like I was a candidate and supporting me like I was a spouse.”

Obama also reportedly spoke about welcoming Donald and Melania Trump to the White House after she had been crying saying her goodbyes to White House staff.

According to Page Six:

When BET brass saw the story, they kicked Givhan out and canceled a panel she was due to moderate.

But while claiming Michelle’s talk was private, BET didn’t play by its own rules: The network posted sections of the interview on its website, while Valerie Jarrett, who conducted the chat, teased on social media that fans should “tune in to BET” to hear all that Obama really said.

The incident spiraled into a social media screaming match, and Givhan was subjected to a barrage of abuse, with one tweeter saying she “violated a sacred trust between women, black women.”


Givhan was “invited as a guest (not working press) to moderate a fashion panel,” a BET representative said.

The network had reportedly paid for Givhan’s travel and hotel expenses.

“She was made aware that it was an intimate conversation in a sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship,” the BET representative said.

Givhan unloaded in scathing tweets as the debate raged, critics calling her out and the journalist defending herself.

Givhen wasn’t alone, however, as many others – journalists included – called out the drama-filled


Frieda Powers


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